How improving by One per cent in all areas of your business can transform your organisation

Published: 23rd March 2020

Have you ever thought about how your business would improve if you started making just tiny 1% improvements in lots of different aspects? You’d be forgiven for thinking it wouldn’t change that much, but you’d be surprised.

Take Sir Dave Brailsford. He’s the man responsible for guiding the British Cycling Team to their most successful period in cycling history and the way he did it was through lots and lots of small 1% improvements. He changed the type of beds the cyclists slept in, what pillows they used and what type of alcohol they could rub on the tyres to increase speed. This might just sound a little bit extreme, but when you think about it, every small improvement adds up to make a huge difference overall.  

“The whole principle of marginal gains came from the idea that if you broke down everything that could impact on a cycling performance – absolutely everything you could think of – and then you improved every little thing by 1%, when you clump it all together, you’re going to get quite a significant increase in performance.” – Sir Dave Brailsford

This is what is referred to as the aggregation of marginal gains. All of the small improvements add up to make a massive overall improvement.

So, is it time to think about the power of marginal gains for your business? If you and all of your employees strove to make 1% improvements in everything they did, that would all add up to a major overall improvement for your business.

Thinking about the most obvious areas where you can begin making small improvements is a great place to start. This could mean sales improvements, marketing improvements, cutting unnecessary costs and much more. Of course, this will be different for each individual business and is something that should be tailored to your needs.

It’s also crucial to think about areas which are less obvious for making changes too. For Sir Dave Brailsford and the British Cycling Team, this involved teaching cyclists the proper way to wash their hands to reduce the chance of catching a cold and other minor changes that many people wouldn’t even think of. It’s this type of out of the box thinking that can really make a difference and set your business apart from the rest.

In your business, small changes might involve seemingly minor things, such as changing the font or colours on your website to improve conversion rates, amending a few small words of copy within a webpage or brochure, or changing images to suit.

Of course, with any such changes it’s important to make changes, measure their impact and then be prepared to try other options if they don’t have the desired effect. Marginal gains certainly won’t make your business grow overnight, but if you put the effort in and are prepared to commit to long term 1% changes throughout all aspects of your organisation, before long you’ll begin to see changes and improvements that you can build upon.