Every end of year, most firms have planning meetings where senior staff meet and lay down strategies for the coming year.

In those meetings, most firms focus on what they need to do to achieve more. Things such as increasing marketing budgets, hiring more staff, increasing products and expanding markets usually dominate the discussion.

One thing that, however, most times does not get good attention is what not to do. Rarely do we concentrate on things that we should stop doing to succeed. Even in our daily planning we hardly focus on things that we should not do, yet they matter a lot.

Quite remarkably, most people have to-do list prepared every morning or previous night to ensure the day is organised and successful. But most of our success and happiness comes from the thing we do not do rather than the things we do.

In some situations success is not about what we do; it is more about what we don’t do.

In business there are times when rather than focus on doing many things right, we should focus on doing fewer things wrong.

This principle is known as improvement by subtraction. It involves eliminating or reducing things that don’t work. It is about reducing small losses that are easy to ignore but several of them add up to huge sums.

Every good farmer knows that fruit trees need regular pruning to reduce the number of branches and remain with few that can get enough nutrients and sunshine to give better yield.

Likewise to perform better in your business you perhaps need to subtract things that weigh you down and prevent you from reaching your full potential.

Rather than think your life can only be better if your earned more, try increasing your wealth by spending less, removing expenses that don’t add value, by eliminating small loses, by not buying unnecessary things and by avoiding risky and doubtful investments.

Most business owners are victims of chasing volumes rather than profit. Or simply put, they think profit is only found in volumes. This is not so.

In lean or uncertain times like now, you can increase your bottom line by boosting efficiency or reducing mistakes and losses by choosing what not to do.

This article was first published in The Business Daily on October 16, 2017.

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