One Notch In the Gear

There is an idea called the Flywheel Concept which is an important part of the Good to Great concept.

To answer the question about which notch in a gear is responsible for turning the machine–the answer is all of them. In business, there is rarely no one thing that leads to success, but is a combination of many things. The great thing about it is that most activities push the business forward a little at a time, with a lot of energy invested, but eventually the gears and the momentum from their movement will propel the machine by the law of inertia. This article was inspired by something I read over on MartialTalk in response to my post about how to succeed in an FMA school. Two posters wrote about how they thought flyers were a waste of time because they had schools and flyers yielded no results. I thought this was worth an article, as I understand the low ratio of flyers passed out to new student. However, I have built my business off of flyers and I believe strongly in them. The difference is that I focus on the positives of my efforts than the failures;  the truth of flyers is that you will have to pass out possibly thousands of them to gain a few students. But they are new students I didn’t have before I pass out flyers, and your efforts–if you stay at it long enough–will ultimately pay off. That is, unless you quit.

Sort of the Michael Jordan “missed shots” phenomena:  some men define themselves by the number of successful attempts, while others define themselves by the number of unsuccessful ones. In his career, NBA great Michael Jordan missed over 9,000 shots. But we don’t address those, do we?

So, you may waste 998 flyers while attracting the attention of 2 potential students. Do you focus on the $80 you lost on flyers? Or the $300 you made off of the two students?

Okay, someone out there just thought to himself, “but I can’t feed my family off of 2 students”… But how long did it take you to distribute 1,000 flyers? 4 days? A week? Is that the only form of recruitment you use? Each mode of recruitment will bring you a little success–a student here, two students there–and in the end, they add up. So the flyer brought two students this month. If you charge $150 a month, it’s $300. An ad you placed brought you 2 students, another $300. Your website brought you one student, $150. A poster you put up in the local library brought you two students, another $300… and so on. So far, I’d say you made at least $1,050 more than you made last month. What’s the problem?

The Flywheel Concept of business says that every little function in marketing helps to push you along, and one by one, little by little, success by success. No one thing is responsible for your success or failure–everything helps if you do it, hurts if you don’t. We cannot afford to turn anything down, as long as it adds something to our bottom line.

The Flywheel Concept also applies to the martial arts. In training, no one exercise or drill is responsible for good skill alone. We must use everything that adds to our skill’s “bottom line”:  stretching, endurance training, power mechanics, sparring, techniques practice, hands, feet, evading, etc. Many martial artists try to discount one aspect or another because they dislike it or lack skill in it; then another martial artist will overemphasize another. The truth is that everything we do develops some part of our skill–even forms training and one-step techniques practice–and whether we like it or not, something will be lacking if we choose to ignore it.

So when someone emails me, asking what can they add to their training to develop power, or improve sparring ability, or increase their ability to evade and chase on foot, there is no one answer. At the same time, there is no shortcut! Many of us look for the few things that will help us get rid of the middleman on the road to skill, and there is no middleman. You must first begin with a strong, well-planned training regimen, and then fulfill all its requirements. This takes patience, diligence, commitment, discipline and TIME.

For those who are still confused about how the Flywheel Concept applies to you, I recommend reading Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. In the meantime, this definition should explain it better than I can.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you found some value in this and other articles I have posted. And as always, please spread the word!