One of my mantras as a college coach was “Little Things Win Big Games” and today as an executive coach, it’s the same. The little things make a big difference in your business. Progress isn’t about one quantum leap its most often a series of small incremental gains. The thing with incremental gains is they don’t happen by accident, you’ve got to manufacture them so to speak.
One of my clients, Phil Bolduc CEO of Neokraft Signs, is a master at manufacturing incremental gains. He holds weekly team meetings on Tuesday mornings and in a recent meeting he brought up the idea of asking every employee to save him 11 cents that day. In the sign business one of the most commonly found pieces of equipment are little orange wire nuts (plastic pieces that hold electrical wires together). They each cost eleven cents. He shared with the team that there are incremental gains all around them that they are probably either taking for granted or just not seeing. His call to action to reinforce the concept was to ask every employee to find and personally bring him an orange wire nut by the close of business that day. Most of them found a few laying around in their trucks, pockets, toolboxes, or in some obscure corner of the shop floor. As requested, they each brought him one orange wire nut.
Will the 11 cents make or break the company tomorrow? No, but the exercise Phil had his team perform was done very strategically to illustrate a key point — we treasure what we measure and these little penny victories over the long term become big championships.
To demonstrate “real life” magnitude of his concept of penny victories, Phil shared with his team why he keeps the change in all his price quotes on jobs, meaning he doesn’t round down his pricing. For example, if a sign installation costs $30,000.52 He doesn’t round the quote down to $30,000.00 for convenience and easy math. The magnitude of this simple act is huge, as evidenced by an example he shared. Over the course of 18 years, five thousand signs were sold to one account. The “penny victories” of not rounding down added up to an additional $2,500 in revenue from just one client out of the hundreds in their book of business.
There’s a lot to be said for precision. Penny victories can turbo charge your results as well. Think about the things in your business that you measure, they get paid attention to don’t they? What you focus on expands, so when you pay attention to finding incremental gains you’ll find them in all sorts of small areas (like wire nuts & not rounding down). Those “little things” all add up fast and become big things. Penny victories become championships.
How do small daily “penny victories” become championships?
Question: Would you rather receive $2 million dollars cash today or one penny a day that doubles every day for a month? If you chose the penny victory that doubles every day you’d be far better off… To the tune of $10,737,418.24 31 days later.
The Lesson: We overestimate the importance of big things and underestimate the value of small daily decisions.
Too many people talk about success as if it were one big event. It’s not. Success is a series of daily penny victories. Where are the penny victories in your life and your business?