If you improve your business by 1% every day you will have doubled your business within 14 weeks! This is the mantra I teach small business owners when I first start working with them and it provides two distinctive benefits. One benefit of the 1% improvement concept is the focus it gives to business owners to put aside time to work “on” their business rather than “in” their business. The second more subtle benefit is the fact that it lets the business owner know that the improvements they make to their business don’t have to be Einstein level calculus to be effective and profitable. All you need is one good idea that you actually implement in your business today!
So where can I get those 1% ideas?
Talking to other business owners is the single best way to get 1% ideas that really work. You also get the benefit of other business owner’s mistakes and pitfalls without experiencing the pain yourself. The Chamber of Commerce breakfast meetings and especially the “Meet My Business” events are a great source. But don’t forget the quid pro quo in these encounters. Ensure you discuss your little implementation failures as well as trumpet your 1% improvement successes so other Chamber members get a chance at their 1% improvement idea quota for the day.
I personally get a lot of 1% improvement ideas by staying in close contact with fellow business-owning friends. Just the act of talking through some of the issues or opportunities facing my business over coffee with these colleagues has generated the odd great 1% idea almost out of nowhere!
The good news is that the simple act of looking out for 1% improvement ideas magically produces those ideas right before your eyes. Ever noticed that when you think about buying a particular brand of car, that brand of car starts popping up all over the place?
It’s not that there are suddenly more of those cars around, it’s because you are suddenly taking notice of them. The same concept is at work with the 1% improvement idea. Keep a look out for them, and you’ll have more 1% ideas than you can deal with!
So what is the catch?
There are two catches. The first catch: there is no point coming up with great 1% improvement ideas if you don’t do something with them. With information technology companies I work with I try to instill in the staff from the start a virtue that “ideas are nothing… implementation is everything!” – i.e. a million dollar idea is worthless unless it is implemented successfully.
The second catch: you need to be continuously looking for those 1% ideas and trying to implement them almost every day.
Here is the good news for today: You have just received your first 1% improvement idea. You have read this article to its end. If you find yourself agreeing to look for those 1% improvement ideas for your business then you just implemented your first 1%. Well done! It’s that simple.
Till next time!