Too Many Options

by Melinda Sims

convenience store

We’ve always heard that having options is a good thing. Having options gives us the freedom to choose what is best for us. However, having too many options can feel chaotic and be crippling. When we have so many options, we actually tend to choose nothing. We look at the minor gain to our businesses as not worth the exhausting effort of making a choice.  

Think about going into a convenience store with no goal other than being kind of hungry. We tend to wander around, thinking a donut sounds good, but maybe I should choose something healthier, but maybe I’m not hungry at all, but, well, I haven’t had a Butterfinger in a long time. After 10 minutes of wasted time, we walk out of the store having bought nothing because we couldn’t make the decision as  there were too many options and we didn’t know what we wanted.

But how can we reduce our options? There are 2 keys to accomplish this: laser focus and the Fourth Secret to Profit, a business vision.

Think about the process of growing a business. Let’s say my goal for next year is to grow my business by 10%. There’s probably a million and one ways that this is possible. Ten percent more cows, increase productivity of existing cows by 10%, graze 10% more efficiently, or lease 10% more land. The list can go on and on making it hard for us to choose which one is best. But what if I set an audacious goal of increasing my business profit by 10 times over what I did the previous year? Well, now options come into laser focus of the one or two methods that will get me there.

We talk about breakthroughs in the Ranching for Profit School, where a key indicator of a breakthrough is something that will change your business by 10X. In your businesses, how can you think 10X differently to increase focus for reaching your vision? Can you figure out a way to work 10X less? Increase profit by 10X? Have relationships work 10X better? Pay 10X less in interest payments? Feed 10X less? When you WOTB (working on the business), challenge yourself to think 10X differently! Most likely, only a few options will rise to the surface to accomplish your goal.

Here’s THE question, though. Do you WANT to be 10X different? I sent a friend into panic mode after sharing an article on this subject because his immediate reaction was, “How on earth am I going to sell 800 bulls instead of 80???” Here’s where the 4th Secret to Profit comes in. What does your business vision say?  

For our operation, the option of selling 10X more bulls would look enticing because increasing our bull sales from 4 to 40 could fit our vision of “Producing a product – grass or livestock – that we are proud of yet continuously looking to improve” and “Producing high quality, healthy livestock adapted to our climate” in “a family inspired business”. But for my friend, running an operation that is 10X bigger on 10X more land base in order to sell 10X more bulls doesn’t fit his vision at all, as his vision is “Work will be structured in a way that promotes a healthy balance of work and life.” Could he look at the possibility of selling an individual bull for 10X more money? Yes but only if his vision is to serve that type of customer.

No matter what the options a business comes up with, before considering it even a little bit, it should be tested against the business vision. One of your vision’s primary purposes is to reduce chaos and paralysis in regards to too many options. The vision itself is laser focused on what the business wants. Once that vision is completed, authentic, and truly representative of the business owner’s desires, it acts as our conscience on our shoulder, steering us away from the convenience store so we’re not even tempted to buy the Butterfinger.  

Next time you’re faced with a bunch of options, think about what would move your business in the right direction in a BIG way. This will help to weed out most options quickly. Then hold the remaining options up to your vision. I guarantee, a path forward will emerge out of the chaos.

One Response to “Too Many Options”

August 23, 2023 at 8:20 am, GJ said:

Especially in today’s environment… trying to weed out distractions.


Most teams are not focused enough. I rarely encountered a team that employed too narrow an aperture. It goes against our human grain. People like to boil oceans.

Many people and organizations are focused a mile wide and an inch deep. It can’t be a surprise when they progress at snails pace.

Reminds us of Mark Twain who wrote us a long letter because he had no time for a short one.


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