Bad Girl, Good Business

Quality & Quantity: Should You Diversify?

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Can quantity and quality co-exist?

Yesterday, I posted about infobesity and infoxication — the over-consumption of data. We are living in a quantity world. People need to have a few jobs or specialties to make ends meet. Big brands need to diversify their product lines in order to grow, while trying hard not to jump the shark and make things that are inconsistent with their core competencies. (I am reminded of the floor wax/dessert topping ad on Saturday Night Live.)

Plato (who was supposedly a very wise dude) said, “All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.” 

And the French novelist Emile Zola said, “If I cannot overwhelm with my quality, I will overwhelm with my quantity.

So, do we do just a few things really well or do we expand into new areas? The answer isn’t all that simple. Ironically, a quantity of answers and philosophies exist.

We’ve seen companies like Crumbs and Blockbuster die dismal deaths because they were one trick ponies. And yet a company like Crocs is still alive and well. Lego apparently had to find the right combination of “bricks” to make its diversification strategy work.

As a small business owner, I suffered during the recession because I had put too many of my eggs in the real estate marketing basket. Our current client base is a mix of education and kid-related businesses, service businesses, a smattering of tech, and “vice” businesses (i.e., spirits industry and writing about the legal cannabis industry). Vice seems to be recession-proof.
Some people boast, “I have a million ideas!” That’s terrific. But are they the RIGHT ideas? Do they have the resources and talent to actually execute them?
The experts today seem to agree with both Plato and Zola. As long as you stay true to your brand and have a rational plan, diversification seems to be the way to survive and flourish in our new economy. Whether you’re big or small, adding on to what you do in a strategic and consumer-driven way (while paying attention to your core brand and business), can not only make you richer but make your work more interesting too!




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