I caught an episode of Shark Tank last week, and watched a family make a pitch for a new product that went on the bridge of your eyeglasses to keep them from slipping down your nose.  It was a waxy substance that came in a tube like lip balm and cost $9.99.  They said that it would last for a year or two.

One of the recommendations that the ‘sharks’ had for the entrepreneurs was to make their product smaller: an infrequent buying cycle was not good for cash flow, return customers and the overall health of the company.  The suggestion was to cut the product and the price in half and rely more on repeat volume.

Ironically I had a similar conversation when I was with a friend buying “Kank-a”, a cold sore remedy.  This, too, cost $10 and would last through a year.  He remarked on the desire for the product to be half as much volume and cost — apparently Kank-a did not appear on Shark Tank!

These examples reminded me of a eyebrow shaping powder that I have literally had for 15 years. I use this original purchase regularly, love it, and protect the remaining supply because they no longer make it.  I wonder if Clinique was victim of making their product last too long; they saw that sales were low and they took it as a sign of non-interest rather than wrong sizing.

Think about what you are offering in your organization and whether the price, product and life cycle are at an optimum level.  Do you want frequent users or are you in it for longevity?  Have you actually used your product or service so you know how long it lasts?  More is not always better.  

— beth triplett

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