Michele KueglerAs the owner of a startup, or a business, you (hopefully) are reviewing statistics on a regular basis. At PeKu I take time each Monday to analyze a variety of reports. There’s nothing better than seeing an increase in readers or discovering that a new promotion was successful. Yes, it is pure happiness to see your company thriving.

Every Monday doesn’t have that same joyous feeling of exciting stats. There are weeks when readership numbers decline or a social media campaign fails. These events, on an individual basis, aren’t a call to make drastic change; they simply are pieces of data to be considered. A tweak here, an update there, and let’s see what next week brings.

Of course, sometimes these declines continue week over week, and little tweaks aren’t enough to make an improvement. Making an article 100 words shorter or switching publication time to an hour later may not be enough to grab your audience. That is when I, as the startup founder and CEO, need to make the difficult decisions. Do I keep trying to make this publication grow, or is it time to let it go?

It would be one thing if it were only deciding to stop publishing articles on one of my websites, but it is more than that. It also means removing articles from the editorial calendar and reducing a columnist’s assignments, or worse, eliminating a columnist’s role. The human element of this decision is saddening. I need to do what is best for my company, at the expense of someone else.

As I ponder these changes in company- websites, staffing, future goals, I wish there were different solutions. But sometimes there just aren’t. Sometimes the best thing for PeKu is to make things smaller.

While I could wallow in this sadness, I would rather look for the positive. How will this change make PeKu more vibrant? How can this reduction actually help my business grow in a new direction?

What I have learned after making a few of these reductions over the past eight years is that there are benefits. Having one less publication (and writer) means that I can focus better on the publications and team members that remain. I can take more time to look at analytics, to create new projects, to promote our latest articles.

Sometimes the best way to make things grow is to make them smaller first.

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