When you think of marginal gains, if you are anything like me then you will be picturing some buff body builder who is trying to add an extra inch to his biceps or a financial controller trying to find that extra £ for the management accounts! The concept of marginal gains however, can be an absolute game changer for small business, and it can be a real boost to your self esteem at the same time.
The definition of marginal gains is thus: The doctrine of marginal gainsis all about small incremental improvements in any process adding up to a significant improvement when they are all added together (source: BBC News)
I first became aware of marginal gains when I watched the journey of Chris Hoy in the London 2012 Olympics - his gruelling regime of training for being at optimal fitness was both inspiring and traumatic (exercising to the point of vomiting is beyond commitment!). Now I’m not about to say that you need to push yourself to the point of sickness to make your business successful, but the concept of marginal gains can have a dramatic impact on your approach to achieving your goals - making the impossible possible.
The idea of setting business goals can be both exciting and daunting, and some small business owners won’t even commit their goals to paper for fear of failure or being mocked for their grand nature. Some of this can be fixed with a shift in mindset, but using marginal gains can also really help - by breaking down the goal into its component parts and then working on those parts bit by bit.
Let me give you an example. Your goal is to take 10 minutes off of your production time for a product. Take the overall production time of the product. Break it down into its constituent parts and then look at how you can make efficiencies with each area of the process. Taking seconds off of each part of the process can then add up to achieving the overall goal and it hasn’t felt like a mammoth task to achieve.
The concept is all around breaking things down. What small wins can you make that you know will add up to a maximum impact? What areas do you procrastinate on because they seem too overwhelming? Using this process you can make the task seem far more manageable and even though the gains are tiny - when they are assessed as part of the overall goal they can have a massive impact.
Using marginal gains to look at your SEO and online visibility is a great technique for making improvements. Breaking down the components:
Structure & Security
Configuration & Navigation
Content & Linking
And then breaking down these even further into component elements you can make a list of tasks that will make small (marginal) improvements that when added up will have a dramatic impact on your online visibility.
We would all like to be achieving our goals, and making it manageable is what we all aspire to isn’t it? Try using this technique and see if it works for you...
Pamela Rae-Welsh is an online visibility specialist for Worsley Creative. Having helped over 50 businesses in her first year of trading, Pamela is becoming an authority on small business advice.