Definition of Low-Hanging Fruit
The concept of low-hanging fruit is one that’s not unique to business, and it refers to the “quick wins” and easy tasks that can be dealt with quickly and which will help to take you in the direction that you want to go.
An example of low-hanging fruit is if a company is spending 100 man-hours each month on payroll and making a large number of mistakes along the way. They might find that they could switch to an automated system that does the entire payroll in a single click and which makes far fewer mistakes.
The term low-hanging fruit can also be used to refer to an individual or a sales prospect. For example, a salesperson might deliberately target the low-hanging fruit on their books if they’re nearing the end of their sales period and they haven’t reached their quota. In this instance, they’d be focusing on reaching out to the people who are most likely to convert with the least amount of effort.
Interestingly, it seems that the term low-hanging fruit comes from the older term “easy pickings”. The low-hanging fruit is the fruit that’s the easiest to pick.
Some people think that the concept of low-hanging fruit is just a cliché that’s overused by managerial types, but that’s not necessarily the case. By focusing on the low-hanging fruit, a business can identify simple steps that they can take to achieve a disproportionately impactful result.
How can you identify low-hanging fruit?
One of the best ways to identify low-hanging fruit is to separate all of the ideas you have and all of the actions on your to-do list into the following four categories:
- High impact, low effort: Low-hanging fruit projects that should be a priority.
- High impact, high effort: Your secondary priority, projects that are worth doing but which also take a decent amount of time and resources.
- Low impact, low effort: Low-priority tasks that you can tick off if you have any downtime but which aren’t worth focusing too much effort on.
- Low impact, high effort: Rotten tomato projects that should be avoided at all costs.
Can a business focus exclusively on low-hanging fruit?
It would be nice if a company could only focus on low-hanging fruit, because that would mean that everything they did was high impact and low effort. Unfortunately, due to its very nature, the supply of low-hanging fruit is rarely inexhaustible, making focusing on the low-hanging fruit a short-term strategy that can’t be relied upon indefinitely.