Business Pruning – why it’s necessary (and how to know what to remove)
As we journey through our life we grow and change and expand. We let go of old ideas, habits and beliefs that we’ve come to realise aren’t true or healthy for us anymore and replace them with fresh insights.
Your business evolves and changes in a similar way. This is especially true of a personal brand, which many a Next Chapter woman has since it’s a direct reflection of who you are. Being in alignment is essential.
Sometimes these changes feel like an evolution. They’re gradual and grounded and make perfect sense.
And occasionally they have a definite sense of urgency about them. You realise there is no gradual disengagement possible. Change is needed to move back into alignment. Now.
This is when you need to logically or emotionally, prune your business
So what is Business Pruning? I’ve found there are 2 versions of it - Logical Pruning and Emotional Pruning.
Logical pruning is the easy version. This is when you look at an area of your business and realise that a simple change is needed. It’s a cut and dried decision, easy to make and implement. “I’m not really using this app anymore, but I’m still paying for it – time to delete it”. This was me earlier this week, closing my Basecamp account. No emotion involved - easy peasy!
Emotional Pruning is trickier.
These decisions run deeper and are entangled with your sense of self, your values and beliefs - what you believe, or want, to be true. They’re also often connected to time you’ve invested and really feel harnessed too. And this means these decisions can be harder to make and so you tend to put them off for longer than you should.
When you are brave enough to look underneath the surface and get honest with yourself, you know they are necessary and ultimately, good for you, your clients, your business and more.
An example could be deciding to let go of a program or service you’ve poured time and energy into and had high hopes for that just isn’t providing the return you’d expected. You’re highly emotionally invested in it, and can go through stages of anger, disappointment, self-flagellation and more before you get to acceptance when you can harvest the learning and let it go.
And the best news? Pruning leads to fresh growth and the opportunity to plant new seeds of possibility.
How do you know when and what to prune, fertilise or plant?
One of the biggest challenges we often have in business is finding the time to do everything we want and need to. Your activities generally fall into 8 key areas, or Business Pillars, as I call them.
- Big Picture Planning
- Audience Building
- Adding Value
- Marketing and Promotions
- Sales Conversations
- Delivering Your Service
- Personal Development/Learning
- Refreshing and Resting
When you’re clear on what role your business plays in your life you can ascertain how much time you have to invest in it. Then you can create your vision, set your goals and work backwards from there (yes, I know that’s a simplified version of business reality, but let’s just go with it for now!).
You’ll be working away diligently and enthusiastically, working on things in each pillar area and gradually, over time, you’ll begin to realise some things have just gotta go, especially when you’re feeling the pull to plant something new – it’s just seldom possible to do it all at once.
That’s when pruning comes in.
Ask yourself these 3 simple questions.
- What’s draining me, taking my energy or causing resentment or doubt?
Prune these – do less of them.
- What’s energising me, giving me energy?
Fertilise these – do more of them
- Is something missing, is there something I am craving?
Plant these – start doing them
Check each of the pillars – ask these questions for each area.
For example Audience Building – ask, “how am I bringing people into my community and onto my list? Do these activities drain or energise me? What needs to stay as is, be pruned a little or a lot”? A client of mine recently recognised that the opt-in she had been using for 2 years was no longer resonating with her audience. It needed to be pruned, cut right back to the core. It felt flat and unexciting. It was time for a new resource to be introduced and with it came new energy.
And in another simple example: Delivering your services – ask, “how am I serving my current clients? Do these services, programs or products drain or energise me? What needs to stay as is, be pruned a little or a lot”?
Another client realised how much she loved group work and so she has introduced a Mastermind into her previous one to one only offerings.
It may take you some time to work through the pillars, so give yourself space, it’s worth it. Lean into what feels heavy or light. What needs to go or stay. Trust your intuition, and also take note of statistics too, if relevant, for example, has your own opt-in rate gone down lately? Have your opening rates for your newsletter decreased? These facts combined with your intuition, can create strong solutions.
What emotional pruning have I done lately?
I had to make an emotional pruning decision recently. It certainly wasn't an easy one. I'm closing my Facebook Group and that means some 870 lovely ladies will not have the space to be in anymore.
I explained in a Facebook Live in the group that I am a scuba diver, not a Jet Ski rider. I crave deep connection and the opportunity to provide significant support to assist in lasting change. I no longer felt I could do that in an environment where I felt almost compelled to post to “create engagement". That no longer felt authentic. And I was investing so much time, trying to work out how to make this environment more effective and aligned with my ethos. Literally months of trying new ideas and not wanting to let it go.
The reason I struggled for so long with this decision (and discussed it at length with my own Mastermind buddies) is because some of my strongest, highest values are connection, community and being of service. I truly believe in the importance and value of Next Chapter women being supported, encouraged and inspired, to not be stuck working in the isolation that can gnaw away at your confidence and self-belief.
That’s what I mean when I say Emotional Pruning is difficult.
But I have come to understand that the time and energy this decision opens up can now be harnessed for quality content creation and experience development that serves at a deeper level.
And tangible evidence has already surfaced that supports my newly formed belief:
- This blog post - I’ve not blogged in MONTHS, but now I’m now beginning to plan so many ideas - that feels exciting
- A monthly free Masterclass and Q&A all about business confidence that I cannot wait to host – that feels expansive
- A new “Seasons” approach to my Next Chapter Podcast that I have been noodling with – that feels resonant
- A new Next Chapter Business Club that provides support, encouragement, coaching and resources at a really accessible investment level – that feels exhilarating!
This is what I mean when I say that when you dig below the surface you’ll discover these emotional pruning decisions really are good for you, your clients and your business.
My relationship with FB has not ended, it's just changed in tone. It’s been pruned! I’ll now use my page to create community - but in a relaxed manner, that invites discussion and involvement, but does not demand it on a daily, "follow these guidelines" kind of way. Come over and join me.
What will you prune, plant or fertilise in your business?
Take time to consider where changes are needed. Imagine what new possibilities could open up when you make and implement your decisions…
I’d love to hear what this looks like for you as you expand into your own Next Chapter.