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Weeding & Pruning

Updated: May 28

Sammy had fourteen sales reps. He drank a lot, was in poor health, his marriage was on the rocks, and he was a no-show father to his children.

Looking at who generates the money in his business, Sammy realizes that he is generating more revenue than his reps. It takes courage, but he helps them get work in other places and releases them.

Without the stress of fourteen sales reps to manage, Sammy focuses on what he does best: selling. He sells so much that he becomes second in the state in sales.

Now, he is much happier, has improved health, and is a better husband and father. Oh, and Sammy has multiplied his income.

Successful business leaders are relentless in pursuing growth through weeding and pruning.

These are required in three areas:people, customers, and products.

When you are looking at cutting in these three areas, much courage is needed.


A person who has behavior hindering your niche development and team building must be addressed. Typically people with difficult behavior have been rewarded for their difficult behavior.

Entrepreneurs must have the courage to deal with these people. They must change their behavior, or you must remove them.

A verbally abusive "bully" enjoys the reward of being rarely challenged. Weeding means challenging them.

Stonewallers enjoy the reward of not having to respond. Their stonewalling positions them as a lightning rod for other naysayers. Pruning means challenging stonewallers.#nbsp;

Unpunctual people enjoy the reward of stolen time. They also "teach" other team members to follow their example and penalize those who are punctual—entrepreneurs who understand weeding and pruning challenge unpunctual team members.


Weeding and pruning your customers and suppliers as your business grows is necessary.

You should have objective measurements to determine the profitability of customers. This means evaluating their ability to help you achieve your profit. What are their margins? Their cost to serve? How fast can they pay you? Savvy entrepreneurs track these kinds of statistics on a "customer scorecard."

My grandfather said, "Those customers who buy lemons by the dozen are much harder to please than those who buy by the truckload."

Sometimes, you must weed out customers.


Some products and services become less popular with time. There must be ongoing vigilance to evaluate and even eliminate. We once had a rule that we would not add another product without eliminating one. This rule kept us focused on our top performers.

Eliminating poor performers requires diligence. It is just easier to keep doing what has always been done. A lack of attention here results in your customers choosing better performers from other suppliers.

Hans Hoffman says, "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."

It can feel brutal, but weeding and pruning people, customers, and products is necessary to ensure that your business maintains its profit, blesses its community, and advances its purpose.

It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs and businesses to be unaware of the actual core values that drive their business. To help you clarify these values, I have designed an assessment,Business Impact Plan: Seed, Sunshine, Soil, Harvest. It has a series of questions that you can ask yourself and get your employees and team members to answer. It is free, my gift to you.

Harry T. Jones

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