Half-measures get you nothing.

Going halfway on something does not give you half results—it gives you zero results.

So if you want to make anything happen, you have to commit. Commit to making it happen, or sit on the sidelines. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that, by doing half measures, you’re actually taking action, because you’re not.

I’ve been running my company for over 13 years now, and in that time, I’ve met thousands of people who want to sit down and talk about a potential project. When working with people and trying to help them figure out what they need, what they have to spend, what the timeline should be, eventually, we need to come up with a budget, right? When people come to us, I have a range of budgets that we typically work with.

Let’s say that we’re doing a website project for them and it’s an e-commerce shop. To make this e-commerce shop, we need a certain number of landing pages to support the campaigns, photography, mail, and all this stuff, right? These are the features that are necessary for the minimum viable product.

Let’s say that it’s $30,000 to make this thing work, but you only have $20,000. If you do anything for $20,000, you will waste $20,000. We have worked through the entire process, and we know everything that we need. Trying to deliver a $30,000 project for $20,000 means that either you’re cutting a lot of corners or you’re pulling out stuff that’s core. It’ll never sell. It’ll never work, and you’ll deliver zero results.

Perhaps you’re just going with a much cheaper vendor. If you have a $30,000 project, and you’re only going to spend $20,000 on it, it does not give you 60% of the results. It won’t work! So you’ve taken 20 grand, and you’ve completely wasted it. You’re better off not doing anything. You’re better off taking that 20 grand and going to a conference or setting up a table or maybe hiring a salesperson for six months. You’re better off doing something else.

You know, many people reach out to me and say, “We’re doing social media.” And I asked, “Why?” And they don’t know. They don’t know why they’re doing it.

People who do blogs, they do blogging and email marketing together. However, when I ask, “Why are we doing it?” Their answer is that they don’t know. “Who are we doing this for?” Still, they don’t know. Somewhere along the way, they were just convinced that these are activities and tactics that they have to do. That’s a halfway mark.

If you just break it down with cold math, you can spend 100% of the money to get 100% of the results, or you can spend 50% of the money to get maybe 10–20% of the results, but that doesn’t make sense. Why are you putting all that time and those dollars at risk?

In many situations, we can literally determine what will work and what will not work. So if you’re not willing to invest the time or the money into what you need to do to make it work, then don’t do it. It’s okay. There are other things you can do.

You want to hire a salesperson, but you don’t want to spend the time training them for setting up systems or setting up processes or helping them in the field. If you don’t want to do that, that’s okay. But then, let’s be honest—don’t hire the salesperson. But you’re not going to do that. You’re going to hire the salesperson because it makes you feel like you’re doing something. You’re going to do it. You are going to invest dollars, and when they’re going to fail, you’re gonna blame them. But it’s your fault. You didn’t invest what you needed to invest to make them succeed. They’re going halfway.

We have people who come to us and say, “I want to do this advertising campaign.” However, when we talk about monthly reporting, analytics, insight, and strategy so that month by month by month the campaign can continue to get better, we can continue to have an ongoing relationship, and we can tweak things and change things based on where we are in the business, they go, “I don’t really want to invest the money into that. Can’t you just run the campaign?” We could. But literally, we’re running it blindly. We’re not making it any better, and we could potentially be wasting all of your dollars.

So why wouldn’t you spend a little bit of money to protect this whole thing? It’s silly. People want to do just enough to feel like they’re doing something without taking the time to figure out the minimum activities and investment to actually make the minimum viable product work.

Now, of course, you can go too far on the other end. You can overspend in marketing. You can overspend in an activity to the point where you’re actually seeing a diminishing return. We can determine that. We know the minimum, and of course, we know what the maximum is—where we should be taking the dollars and working them somewhere else. Think about every part of the product delivery of your retail store or your e-commerce or your service-based business. Think about where you are skimping, where you’re going halfway.

You know, we see this with customer service people. They would say, “Oh, we follow our clients on Twitter, and we leave cool comments.” Awesome. Are you extending that customer service mindset to every single touchpoint of the entire organization, or are you just doing a good job with new leads? People are super nice to people that they want to sell to, but when they become customers, they ignore them. Or perhaps you’re nice to your customers once or twice, but after year 2 or 3, it’s less exciting and you ignore them, right? You’re going halfway on these things.

I don’t need you to be a perfectionist. I don’t need you to overinvest. I need you to think about what it is that you have to be doing, and do it really well. Commit to it because the in-betweens, the grey areas, and the things that you not being super declarative with what it is that you’re doing—those are the things that hurt you. They hurt you because you’re fooling yourself. You think you’re doing what you need to do, but you’re just wasting your time, and you’re wasting your money. You might as well focus on other things.

There are so many things you can do. Stop tricking yourself. You have to put the dollars and the time to the things that will actually make a difference. Naturally, you’re going to ask, “How do I know what the right amount is? How do I know?

  • First, if you don’t have the experience to be able to determine what the right amount is, then you need to work with people or hire people or consult with people. You need to do the research to learn it. You need to be in a position where, with all of your activities, you know what that right amount is.

  • Second, you need to measure, watch, and track everything. People these days get caught up with scientific tracking—you know, like, “Is this data accurate?” You don’t have to think in terms of absolutes. You just have to have indicators or milestones or data that will show you whether it’s going in the right direction or working against you. If you can’t track it, you have no way of knowing whether the activity is working or not. You have no way of knowing whether you’re scaling something up and seeing diminishing returns. You have no way of knowing whether you’re underinvesting in something. Let’s say something isn’t working. Ask yourself, “Am I underinvesting it?” Try doubling the activities for a week. If it doesn’t make a difference, then no, this thing just doesn’t work. If you’re not measuring it, if you’re not watching it, if you’re not tracking it, if you’re not putting it out in the open and making it transparent, you have no way of knowing what’s working and what’s not working.

  • And then third, is don’t buy into how awesome you are at things. You know, it’s great to say, “We’re on social, and we’re crushing it.” However, you don’t actually know if you’re not doing any of those first two things. You don’t actually know if it’s working for you, if it’s a good use of dollars, or if you’re sending out that blog post regularly.

You have to take time to actually look at the open rate. Determine whether those people coming in are new people or existing people. Determine whether you are actually driving the objective in your business. And finally, remember that going halfway on something will not get you the results you’re looking for in your business. Picking up the phone half the time does not make you great at customer service. Hiring someone who could only do half the skills that you need them to do is not a smart investment. Underspending on the way that your marketing looks and the way that your brand feels is not great.

Every time you’re splitting away from what you have to do to make it happen, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Save yourself time. Save yourself the money. Focus on the things that you know you will crush, and it will take you so much further to do things right. They cost what they cost, so I’m not asking you, I’m not telling you, and no one’s going to come along and tell you to get ripped off or to overinvest or to spend way too much. All I’m saying is if you’re not willing to do it, don’t do it.

Let’s say you have your dream house all planned out. You’ve worked with the architect, and you figured it all out. You’re like, “I cannot wait. I’ve been saving for 30 years to build my dream house. I’ve been working. I’ve been slaving. I finally made it. I’m building my dream house.” However, you only have money to build it 70%. Well, they’re still going to build the house for you, but they’re going to put in the worst kitchen and worst finishing. They won’t put in the tile properly. You won’t have the faucets that you like, and you won’t have the lights or the paint or the trim that you like. They’re just gonna pull back, and you’re going to walk into your dream home, having spent 60% of what you should have paid. The structure will be there, the house will be there, the windows will be there, but you’re going to be completely disappointed with it because you didn’t spend what you needed to spend to hit your objective.

Your objective was your dream home. You close your eyes, and you picture it a certain way. You want to live your life in a certain way there and have certain moments, but instead, what you walk into is an empty box. Now, if your goal is to build the empty box, knowing that in five or ten years, you’re going to finish the finishings, then you’re being realistic about it. You’re being 100% realistic about it. However, if your dream is to walk into your finisher place but you’re only going to spend 60–70% on it, you’re better off just being honest with yourself.

That’s the same for your business. Whether it’s marketing, sales, culture, staff, or systems technology, no matter what it is, you have to spend appropriately to get the results that you want.