In any business strategy there is always a dilemma around targeting the perceived Low Hanging Fruit.
Low Hanging Fruit is a term coined to express ‘picking’ off business that is there at hand so that you have the cash flow to move on to the next stage of your business. Reference the Urban Dictionary for a definition.
What I’ve found over the years though is that…
In Business, not all Fruit is Good For You. The Dilemma is in Choosing the Right Fruit for your Success Click To Tweet
Maybe you’ve uncovered a wonderful opportunity that nobody else has realised is there.
Or maybe that low hanging fruit is actually there for a reason…
It’s important to realise that not all fruit is good for you.
Similarly not all customers are good for YOUR business strategy.
Sometimes serving those particular customers can distract you from really accessing the market that will yield the results you want.
The Opportunity Cost of Low Hanging Fruit
This is what we term the opportunity cost of doing business. According to Wikipedia
‘the opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative forgone, in a situation in which a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives given limited resources. Assuming the best choice is made, it is the “cost” incurred by not enjoying the benefit that would be had by taking the second best choice available.’
Think back to our fruit analogy and consider all those people who passed that fruit by in favour of reaching higher into the trees or lower to the ground.
It might seem like a lot of effort when you have fruit there waiting to drop into your hands.
But consider this; what if you spend all day picking that low hanging fruit to discover that you have to throw half of it away when it comes time to bake that lovely pie you’ve been dreaming about.
Would you have yielded greater results by taking a little longer and investing in the better fruit?
It’s All About Balance
We must always balance the obvious or easy next step with our longer term goals.
The answer to this dilemma will always reside with your customers.
So ask yourself these questions so you can address that dilemma.
- Who is your target customer?
The ones that will help you achieve your vision.
- What is your route to access this target customer?
How are you going to reach them? Which channels or networks; social media or otherwise will bring you to them?
- Does this customer have any influencers?
Who influences these customers? How can you access them?
- Is this ‘low hanging fruit’ that you are considering a target customer or an influencer?
So who are these low hanging fruit? Do they form a viable part of your business strategy?
- What is the cost of doing business with them?
Acquiring customers always incurs a cost be it time, money or brand positioning. What is the cost here? Are you building a name for yourself in the wrong space?
- What is the return on doing business with them?
What’s your return? How fast will you see that return?
- Does this strategy make sense?
Does spending your time in this space make sense or is it a waste of your valuable resources?
- Will it bring you closer to achieving your long term vision?
Are you one step closer to your vision by targeting this “fruit”?
If it’s part of the overall strategy of the business then accessing that low hanging fruit works.
But make sure you don’t just target the low hanging fruit.
At some point you will need to stretch and push forward to carve out your own niche in the orchard.
And that will always require some form of effort or even a ladder!
Make it a Conscious Choice
Whatever you decide make it a conscious choice so that you don’t get distracted and find yourself working with clients or on projects that do not yield the long term results you want for your business.
Balance your approach and choose clients that fit your overall strategy.Sometimes its better to say no to today’s opportunity for the result you want to achieve tomorrow. Click To Tweet
Have you ever had to switch short term strategies in favour of reaching longer term objectives.
What helped you switch?
And if you’d like to know about what actually is the lowest hanging fruit out there, check out Ryan Jacobs post on that same topic.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
I love to work with businesses, both large and small to help them create sustainable business dreams... Brand and Strategy are at the heart of everything I do and that gets rolled out digitally and across any channel where your customer lives.
2 responses to “How To Avoid The Low Hanging Fruit Dilemma”
Great article Finola. The temptation of low hanging fruit can be significant when starting a business. Being focused on your ideal client and the module where we can define that is so critical. Sometimes saying no to a potential client is really saying yes to the right client. Thanks for sharing your wisdom once again!
You are very welcome Alicia. I’ve seen this so many times with businesses over the years.
They start out with a very clear vision in mind and then get thrown off their path because let’s face it “needs must” sometimes.
This I understand but when we make a choice to take that “low hanging fruit”, we need to put boundaries around it if it’s not a long term fit for the business.
The next step is to date the boundary so you can return to the path that brings you to your vision once the finances are feeling healthy again.