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The Art of Subtraction

At times we believe that we need to be doing more to get ahead and live a more successful life. However adding more doesn’t always equal better. Doing the rights things and being effective can be much more rewarding. Like in life, the art of subtraction is useful for business as well.

Branding

Subtracting elements from your branding can help focus the message your brand puts out into the world. A more focused message will help to attract the right type of people to your business. If your branding is all over the place, it can confuse potential customers and have a negative impact on sales. To fix this, decide what you want your branding to say about your company. Focus in on the specific feeling you want the branding to portray and the message it says about the company.

Subtracting From Product Line

Adding more options to customers doesn’t always result in more sales or profit; it can actually have the opposite effect. More offerings means you need to be able to fulfill on all of them, complicating your operations and potentially more expensive. When you look at what is performing the best and cut the rest, you will see a significant cut in expenses. And with this, you can double down on what is working.

Subtraction In Your Marketing

Similar to reducing your offering to what is selling best, subtraction can be applied to you marketing efforts. If there are channels that are working exponentially better than others, adjust the marketing budget so that a larger percentage is allocated to what is working best. You will see greater results from this, than if you evenly distributed the budget between all channels.

Subtraction In Operations

Are there processes that could be eliminated altogether that would have no impact on the customer experience or the bottom line? If so, great, go do it. When looking at the systems and processes within the business, it is likely you will find something that can be improved upon. Most of the time, all you have to do to improve a process is simplify or subtract from it.

Application in Other Areas

Apply this principle in other areas of your business and life and see how it goes. Similar to the minimalist movement; make do with less. You’ll be surprised the positive impact it can have.

Chandler Hagglund