Stop Start More Less Grid

I want to introduce you to an absolutely essential business and personal improvement tool – the Stop, Start, More, Less Grid.

You are probably one of the millions of business owners who works too hard and will struggle to find the time and energy to do even more.

For me or any business advisor to say;

“If you want more profit you need to do X, Y and Z”,

you’re likely to immediately feel even more overloaded and move closer to the point where you find the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”.

This is where the Stop Start More Less Grid comes in.

It helps you to recognise real world constraints and the fact that you can’t keep on doing more.

Unless you are doing silly things that moves your business backwards you will be doing stuff that moves the business forward but perhaps not as fast as you want.

You’re busy – working all the hours you can.

To do more you have to find extra time.

You have to buy the time from yourself.

The only way is to stop doing some things and to reduce the time spent on others. You have to decide to stop doing things – to give them up.

This way you create the time to start doing new things and to do more of what brings in the money.

The 80/20 Rule

I’m sure you’ve heard it before – that 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts but have you stopped to consider what those 20% of things are?

Or what the 80% of your time is spent doing that produces so little reward?

Well the Stop Start More Less Grid will help you to think about what you should be doing and will help you to resolve to stop doing other things.

Completing The Stop Start More Less Grid

Stop Start More Less Grid

First start recording what you do.

It’s where a time log can come in useful, even though you probably hate doing it because it makes you accountable for your use of time and takes a few seconds to do each time you change activities.

You can use a diary, a sheet of paper or a computerised system like Slim Timer which is free to set-up and use.

Then start looking at your activities and ask yourself whether you really get value for your time and in particular whether the activity is moving you towards your big vision and goals, making no impact or even moving you away from it.

Then mark off each activity, stop, start, more, less and the final category same.

Get yourself a bit of paper, draw the grid and fill in your stop, start, more and less.

It is a great discipline to recognise that you can only do more or start something new if you do less or stop doing something else.

The Stop Start More Less Grid In Marketing

Everything you do consumes one or more of time, energy and money so if your marketing isn’t working as well as it should, you need to face up to the decisions.

What are you doing in marketing that isn’t working and should be stopped?

What are you doing that isn’t giving you the payback that you should be doing less of?

What should you be doing more of, either in terms of quantity or quality?

What should you start doing that can give you the results you want?

It may be that you are just not giving enough time to marketing, but unless you can identify where the extra time is going to come from, improvement is not going to happen.

It’s much too easy to get sucked backed into the comfort of the old ways of doing stuff so you have to be clear and specific and the Stop Start More Less Grid will help you to gain focus.

And if it works in marketing then it works the same way for all your other business processes. Improvement keeps coming back to Stop Start More Less.

Product Development & Customer Value

The Stop Start More Less Grid also works when designing new products and services.

This same principle¬† of recognising real world constraints is one of the recommendations in the excellent business strategy book “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.

Of course they are business professors so they have to use posher words than Stop Start More Less. In Blue Ocean Strategy, it is called the Eliminate Reduce Raise Create Grid but the principle is exactly the same.

What is novel about this approach applied to product design is that it stops the more, more, more cycle.

Competitor A adds an extra service and you feel compelled to match it. Then competitor B adds an exciting twist to a standard feature. You copy it. Then you add your own innovation. Each step means you add more to your product.

Since whatever we do consumes times, energy and money,to do more costs more.

And if costs increase then prices go up and you move out of the market sweet-spot or your margins are squeezed.

The Stop Start More Less Grid in product development helps keep costs under control and challenges the product developers to identify functions that add cost but no longer add value or that add more cost than value.

Just hitting the Stop and Less quadrants of the grid will help move the brand to the discount or economy sector which may not be the intention. The More and Start quadrants ask what new or improved customer value can we add with the money we’ve saved from the Stop Less quadrants.

Other Applications Of The Stop Start More Less Grid

The Stop Start More Less Grid is a super flexible tool which can be used throughout your business to help you to focus on what’s important and what’s not important.

You’ll see it reappear at very stages throughout the program.

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