Why low hanging fruit is bad for you

| Friday February 17

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth is, the sooner we get this out in the open, the better you and your business will do.

So here it is, low hanging fruit may not be good for you. Don’t believe me? Just ask Adam and Eve how it worked out for them. 

Yes, I am being a tad cheeky with that last comment, but the fact remains, chasing or indeed not turning down low hanging fruit could be doing your business more harm than good. There are of course pundits who believe that Low Hanging Fruit is actually a great way to get ahead in business, and to an extent they are right, but that said, I still believe chasing it can do more damage to your business than giving it a miss if you do not have balance. 

So, to be clear on what we are discussing – let’s define low hanging fruit because there are a couple of ways it can be interpreted. For this piece, I am referring to those tasks or customers which are easier to finish or win and which have little to no bearing on the larger operations of the business. Or put another way, they represent short-term fixes for revenue (not profitability mind you) issues.

Getting your fill of low hanging fruit

Of course, as with most things in business, there are most definitely two sides to the low hanging fruit argument and it would be remiss of me not to evaluate the positives as well. After all, low hanging fruit has a place in all businesses. 

  • For new businesses, targeting easy win clients is a great way to get your name into the public arena
  • Established businesses should always have a share of low hanging fruit as it ensures teams are working and there is cashflow 
  • Easy win clients are often repeat customers and failing to look after them would be a reflection on your customer service
  • Knocking off easy win tasks can help you feel productive and put the wheels in motion for larger more complex pieces.

When too much fruit ruins your hard-earned physique.

Ever experienced the joy that comes from biting into something tasty, especially when you are starving? It fills your senses and in that moment, nothing comes close to replicating that feeling. Yet, ever noticed that even as few as four mouthfuls later, that same food has started to taste just a little less exceptional? The same goes for those low hanging fruits.

At first, easy win clients seem like a great way to work; they are easy to get, they boost cash etc. However, as the next one comes on, then another and so on, there are a number of things which we’ve seen happen time and time again to our clients:

  • You have multiple clients that demand your time. Sadly, clients never see themselves as “big” or “small” clients, they just see themselves as clients. As you win more and more, you will find your time becomes a commodity and the work you do potentially suffers as you try to do things quickly
  • Quick wins usually come at a price – profitability. Most companies attain easy wins by dropping the price. This is good for revenue, but not good for profitability. 
  • As time becomes a precious commodity, managers/companies take their focus away from the improvement of their product or service. Unfortunately, their competition is evolving their offer, so they can attract the more profitable, larger clients which take more time to land, but which ultimately add more value to the bottom line.
  • In service industries, the need to juggle competitive priorities means that you take your eyes off the provision of your most meaningful asset – your value add services. Clients begin to feel they are getting the bare minimum and nothing more and they end up going elsewhere when the time to purchase comes again.
  • In businesses with teams, there is often a growing discord amongst staff who want to do more than just cookie cutter stuff. They want to evolve, innovate and do more than they are currently. If they fail to get this stimulus, they often leave, creating a void the owners need to step into.

Ensuring you get balance

I get it, it is all very good and well to criticise low hanging fruit, but what do we suggest to remedy it? Ultimately, the key to achieving balance is to recognise what your underlying business objectives are and then making sure that what you are doing from a marketing and business perspective is ultimately supporting the accomplishment of those goals. 

Of course it is not a linear process, we know that and there will be dips and turns, but if you have a vision you know you want to achieve, then applying a quick litmus test to your current acquisition model, or against prospective clients can help you gain clarity to understand whether (at that point in time), what you are undertaking will help you get to where you want, or if it will detract from your goals. 

Of course, if you are not sure what your strategy is, or if it is not helping you achieve your goals, then it may be time to rethink it and to get some fresh perspective on how you can undertake to get where you want. If that’s the case, feel free to drop me a note and we can have a chat to see if we can help you (we have a number of tools we can use with you). 

Until then, by all means, snack on that low hanging fruit, but be careful to ensure you have balance and above all, make sure you are enjoying what you are doing.