The 2% Change

Here’s something actionable for you on a Monday morning. If you want to improve your business, in addition to all the other things you are doing, focus on changing thing by 2%.

For example, raise your prices 2%. Eliminate 2% of your variable costs. Focus on the bottom 2% of your team and ask yourself if you really want them on your team. When you cater in food for a meeting, arrange a long term relationship and ask for a 2% discount. Take advantage of any pre-pay or early pay opportunities from vendors who offer a 2% or greater discount. Go through all of your recurring payables and ask yourself the question “do we need this?” and see if you can cut at least 2% of them. The next time you buy something from the Apple store, ask if you are getting a business discount and, if not, ask for one. If you get paid online using credit cards, explore options that are 2% less expensive. If you travel a lot, consider doing 2% more video conferences.

This works for your personal life also. Do you want to lose some weight? Eat 2% less and exercise 2% more. Are you tired? Sleep 2% more. Track your heart rate and see if 2% more sleep will lower your resting heart rate by 2%. Cancel 2% of your meetings. Spent 2% more time each waking day with your spouse, kids, and parents. Take a 2% break during the day and spend it alone going for a walk, fishing, or just sitting quietly on a bench.

You get the idea. As entrepreneurs we spend much of our time on transformative change. When I was president of Feld Technologies, I remember putting energy with my partner Dave into incremental change, especially when we were running short of cash. Don’t forget the 2%. It almost always flows directly to the bottom line.

Also published on Medium.

  • TeddyBeingTeddy

    You ever think about doing Private Equity??

    • Nope.

      • TeddyBeingTeddy

        Ok, well you can’t blame a bear for trying…

  • David Kircos

    Reminds me of the classic
    1.01^365 = 37.8
    0.99^365 = 0.03

    • Sebastien Latapie

      1.02^365 = 1377 – that little extra effort adds up quickly!

    • One of the best ever – it should be on everyone’s wall.

    • Gavin Morrice

      Love this!

  • Gavin Morrice
  • The power of marginal gains.
    It is the reason why the British cycling team has become dominate in a relatively short amount of time.
    It is one of the criteria I use for my needle movers when helping to grow companies.

  • Wiliam Strouse

    As a solopreneur for 30+ years, the incremental change formula (in my case 2.5% / month) is how i gave myself a raise every year. It is not automatic and not guaranteed. Written details are necessary…the 1st of which is “where is it coming from…specifically”. Also, because life always gets in the way of a good memory..we need to be reminded early in each day to review the plan for 10 minutes, then ACTIVELY EXECUTE THE PLAN with INTENTION. Discipline makes the difference.

  • In 2008, we conducted a broad study of U.S. small business tax returns and determined that an expense reduction, or price increase, of less than 3% separates the average profitable and unprofitable business transaction across all US firms. Your advice isn’t just practical, it could keep a business with traction alive.

  • This is the exact point.

    Our product is used org wide at co’s like coke, pepsi, dhl, gamestop, etc. Generally they’re excited about the breakthrough concept that can rocket their business forward. We spend a ton of effort trying to get the big corporates to focus on the 2% a day — hard to do when you’re a few thousand people and your actions don’t have immediate impact.

    Research has shown 80% of an large org potential for improvement lies in these 2% things. Meaning, at best, those big projects add up to 20%. Every employee, every day, needs to be thinking about the 80% that can make the difference.

  • fstein

    Great reminder.
    We can hope that 2% more enter the work force, driving up wages for the lowest tier to expand revenues for startups, mainstreams and global companies.

  • fstein

    A side benefit of the 2% solution is that we become more mindful.

  • This is great stuff.

  • <3

  • Ruchi

    Why 2%? Why not 1 or 3? I get it — it’s not about the number, it’s about the incremental change. This only works if you cultivate this as a habit though and make it part of your being. Not a one-time, when-I-can-remember-it thing.