Is your Business Caught in the Minutia Trap

Is your Business Caught in the Minutia Trap

Attention to detail is very important when it comes to business. For many customers it’s all the small things that add up to a great experience with your company. As a business owner you are generally aware of this fact. However not all details are valuable places to focus in reaching optimal success. Maximizing your effectiveness requires you to be vigilant and avoid the minutia trap. If your find yourself obsessing over small details so much so that it hold up getting value out of your current efforts, then you are caught in the net. So what is this minutia net and how do you get out of it?

The Minutia Trap Defined

Minutia is a focus on small details with little to no long-term value. When you find yourself investing time and resources into small details ask is it really an effective use of resources. Typically the trap looks like a good investment or something that will make a big impact on the customer experience. Generally you will see such items as a positive outcome if added or negative if not. Typically it will seem like a huge deal, but really it’s just because of how focused and zoomed in you are, not in comparison to the project as a whole. For instance you may spend a lot of time trying to make a web site “perfect” without ever releasing one. Finding the best way to approach a valuable contact but never approaching one. Ultimately a wrong approach works 100% better then no approach. Obsessing over small details can seriously hamper your ability. You may accomplish a lot of small things when there are bigger things that could have been accomplished instead.

Avoiding the Minutia Trap

The 80/20 rule is a very valuable guiding principle in business. It says that 80% of the effect can be generated with 20% of the effort. Imagine that you are working on a web site for your business, you get a design from your developer that looks great but there are little touches to it you think are critical before you can launch. Step back and think critically, will these issues really prevent you from making the sale? Alternatively will they cause you to make the sale? Typically most small details the answer will be no. If no is the answer, why let small details to prevent your site from launching? The value of the site launching greatly exceeds the value of that change so move it forward, and you can always make the changes later or as you go.

Minutia and Delegation

With projects like above, it’s easy to see how the minutia impacts your business but another area is less visible and that’s the effect on delegation. Many business owners or overly worked individuals have a hard time delegating work because the person completing it won’t put the same attention to detail into it, or solve the problem the same way. The fear of non-prefect work scares many from delegating tasks. As a result they lose out on the benefits such as; completing the task, their time being freed up, and getting more accomplished sooner. Sure they won’t do it the same way you will, that’s ok there is a chance they might surprise you and do it better, or after a number of retries they will learn to do it up to your standards. Just make sure to give the person instructions that involve what you intend the end results to be and why, this way when they hit road blocks they know how to overcome them.

Serving the outliers

Many businesses receive feedback from their customers and put too much weight to a single piece of feedback. For instance a couple customers may say “you should offer carpet cleaning!” before buying the equipment you have to ask yourself if you are serving the 80% of your customers by offering carpet cleaning or only 20%. The extra service may reduce the service you provide the 80%, so is it worth it? Negative feedback is the best example, someone might get a piece of negative feedback that rocks their world, and begins to change their business around it. They forget this is one person out of the thousands you have successfully serviced. Those changes may increase the happiness of less then 1% who feel similar but at the cost of 10-20% how that change effects. Your company has reached its success for a reason and unless you can show that the feedback is common across a large group of your customers you probably shouldn’t bother changing something that is working. Don’t base your decision on the vocal minority, the silent majority is telling you something with the money they are spending in your business.

Profit Margins and Revenues

It’s great to look at the company’s books and find ways to save money, however this can be self-defeating if done in excess. After the obvious savings the time and energy spent to save $200a month could have gone into making an extra $20,000 per month. If you find some level of success consider pushing your market share or opening in new markets as an alternative to trying to increasing margins. Just think of it this way, you can spend months trying to work out a new scheme that increase your margins by 5% maybe that equates to 100-200k per year. However that same energy and time invested into a 200k a year savings could have gone into a new location that generates 1 million a year or more, or expanding to serve a bigger market.


Time, money and energy are finite resources. To take your business to it’s highest potential you have to apply your resources to the most impactful pursuits. Always keep in the back of the mind the question, “is this the most valuable thing I can do towards making more money?” If the answer is no think about if it’s something someone else can do, or can wait until it is the most important thing.

The simplest way to combat the minutia trap is to always ask yourself, “What is the chance that this will actually affect the customer’s interest in our product or influence the outcome of the sale.” Be realistic; don’t assume it will just because one customer said it would. Find some numbers to confirm or deny the came. Remember your mind makes everything bigger then it tends to be look at the big picture.