Two years ago I visited Margaux, France — one of the most famous (and expensive) wine appellations in the world.
Walking through the rows of vines in winter I was struck that, despite being so valuable, they had been pruned back right to their stumps.
All the tangled greenery and rope-like branches were gone. Each gnarled rootstock had just two thin canes left growing from it — one was to be the fruiting cane for the coming season, and a smaller one for the following year.
They could leave more canes and end up with a higher volume of fruit. That's the approach taken by most vineyards elsewhere that churn out supermarket wines.
But in Margaux, the objective is not the highest possible volume of fruit, but for the grapes to be the juiciest and most flavoursome. That enables them to make world-famous wines that earn them great margins and a deep sense of pride in their work.
To achieve that, once a year they prune the growth options aggressively. For each vine they assess the best opportunity for the coming year and cut away all the rest completely.
That is the mindful approach to growth.
How much pruning of potential opportunities is needed in your agency? This year it's more important than ever to cut back on distractions and focus on what matters most.
As you read this newsletter each week, you're unlikely to be in the market to produce the agency equivalent of a £5.99 bottle of wine. Don't chase quantity then.
Growing your profits and your pride is way more important than growing the vanity metrics like top-line sales and headcount. It's even fine to reduce sales and headcount if that will grow profit margins and pride.
Focus on quality and prune back everything else.