I like to imagine business like the earth or the moon. If it either stops moving it will crash. The moon would crash into the earth; if the earth stops moving it will crash into the sun (hopefully avoiding Mercury and Venus en route).
One of the many lessons that I’ve learned in business is that for a successful company you have to have more clients coming in the front door than going out the back door. It is by far the easiest business concept to grasp and likewise the most difficult to maintain.
In the infancy of a business it is easy to appreciate this model. New business is easily obtained through steady marketing efforts and churn is not common. It isn’t until you’ve surpassed those initial victories that this task becomes far more taxing. Business relationships are not that far separated from personal relationships. Looking back, you can easily see where that equation becomes a more complicated algorithm. Some relationships require more time than others. Some relationships require less physical time, but more attention. Others require less of both but more sense of feeling important in other ways.
There are folklore of men and women who have been able to juggle this in their personal lives or at least for a fleeting moment, but there are few examples in actuality (saving the Mormon religion). However, with business this is the job and it is no easy task. There are many theories in business about how to properly manage this. The most commonly cited is a version of the Pareto Principal, which suggests that twenty percent of your clients consume eighty percent of your attention. The trick is to have the gumption to fire those twenty and focus on where you are generating revenue from.
Early on this is an incredibly intimidating concept. Frankly, most startups are terrified at the notion. When you’re staring at EBIT it’s hard to imagine letting go of any revenue, let alone twenty percent.
For those who do take that “leap of faith” all too often we say that they are taking a chance. Worse when they succeed we say that the were lucky.
I do not believe in luck in the business world. That “leap of faith” is a statistical probability at this point. It’s been proven time after time.
The goal is not to be lucky in business, the goal is to be successful in business. It requires no luck, but a lot of motivation. Letting go of twenty percent of your revenue for 80 percent more time means that you’re free to put more focus on new business. More focus on new clients in the front door. That’s not luck, it’s movement.
The question then becomes if you are the small business avoiding impact into the earth or the earth avoiding the sun.