Stick to the Knitting – Focus on what you do best

Klevur Support
Aug 04, 2011

3 Min Read


Knitting dates back to the 11th century AD and is much different than crocheting. I remember my grandmother crocheting when I was a kid. I used to help her with the yarn. I also wore the goofy shaped hats and scarves, and still have the 300 lb. king-size blanket. What I didn’t realize at the time is that she also gave me memories.

I remember asking her, “Why don’t you knit instead of crochet?”

And in broken English she said, “Causa I can’t goa so fast.” And as the mother of 10 daughters, who have been aptly named  Tasmanian Devils for the speed at which they do everything, my grandmother was right…stick to the crocheting.

Of course, that expression was not made famous until  Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. in their book  In Search of Excellence, was published in 1982. Of the eight themes they argued caused success in companies, #6 was, “Stick to the knitting – stay with the business that you know.”

A somewhat mixed message comes from, Michael Gerber in The E-Myth. He first talks of the entrepreneur who knows how to do the work. This person is a  “technician” and thus someone who is “sticking to the knitting”.  Gerber wrote,  “All of them believing that by understanding the technical work of the business they are immediately and eminently qualified to run a business that does that kind of work.”  But yet, these entrepreneurs fail because, “Suddenly the job he knew how to do so well becomes one job he knows how to do plus a dozen others he doesn’t know how to do at all.”

And what happens next, we do the same thing we did before and hope for a different outcome. (See definition of insanity.)

Both books though are saying the same thing. If you are going to start a business, at least let it be a business that you know something about. And then either find a partner, or hire someone, who has a skill set that compliments you. Too often business people are stretched too thin by not relying on employees or contractors they have hired.

It is as if they don’t believe the person they contracted with can do the job. Here is a perfect example in our business.

We do internet marketing and web design. In a nutshell, we:

1. Drive traffic to your site

2. Capture info from that traffic

3. Convert traffic to leads.

4. Constantly measure success of all the steps.

Everything we do is about increasing your efficiency concerning leads and sales.

So we are hired by a company who is having little to no success generating traffic to their website. Within 45 days, we revamp their website and successfully:

  • have them found on page 1 of a Google search (they weren’t within the first 8 pages before)
  • generate 145 unique visitors to the site (they had 0 before)
  • capture information of 86% of the visitors
  • convert 63% to leads
After all of this is done, our client decides they don’t like the look of the now productive website and request us to change it back to original website.
This is like me:
  • saying to my doctor who has diagnosed that I have to have my appendix removed, “No Doc, its only gas pains, no operation is needed.”
  • at a loan closing, desperate to get my money, agreeing to all the favorable terms, and saying, “No, I don’t want to close, I’m paying too little.”
  •  making the Olympic team, and deciding, “The weather in London isn’t nice enough, I’m not going.
Insane, yes. Real absolutely. And it happens everyday, in all types of businesses. And what we all need to do is, “stick to the knitting.” Focus on what we do well and keep on doing it.  Let the experts be the experts, prove themselves and then get out of the way of your business being successful. I can still hear my grandmother, after doing something she wasn’t happy with, say,   “Howa cuma you so stupid?” And I didn’t have an answer then, and I don’t have an answer now except, “It’s not me Grandma.”
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