CEO @polarnotion. CTO @newstorycharity. Coowner @tenrocket & @sharpp. Run fast. Stay strong. Go boldly forward. Godspeed :: morgan@polarnotion.com

Adding and Removing Zeros

As we think about the evolution of a business, it’s growth and efficiency go hand in hand. It’s important to continually improve and continually growth. Without continual improvement, it’s easy to fall into complacency or get sloppy. Without continual growth, energy is spent balancing an arbitrary equation of profit and lose.

Simply put, if you are not actively improving, your passively diminishing.

Zero the Hero

While continual improvement may sustain the business, from time to time there are opportunities to innovate. Whether through a new approach or impactful technology, the change is exponential not linear. During these seasons, you have the opportunity to add and drop zeros, not percentages.

Over the last 3 years, we have built and iterated on software for an education company. Previously, their sales were dependent on physical books that had to be printed, packaged, and shipped. Every sale had hours of overhead and labor. Today, their entire collection have been converted to a digital experience that can be sold thousands of times with little additional effort. They dropped a few zeros from their costs.

At New Story, we are expanding our reach to the entire housing sector. Moving beyond building internal tools, we are making our web and mobile technology available for other nonprofits. This shift has allowed us to set our sights on the 1 billion people without adequate housing, not just the hundreds of thousands we could impact alone.

The skill of adding and removing zeros does not always come in the form of massive overhauls or complex tools like 3D Home Printers. Within Polar Notion, we reimagined our client on-boarding. On-boarding typically took three or four days of contracts, invoices, and setting expectations. The process today is more value packed and can be completed in 3-4 hours across multiple handoffs.

Better Before Bigger

Innovation and iteration go hand in hand. Healthy businesses combine big risks and proven processes. It’s not one or the other. It’s both. Focus on getting better and taking big swings.

If you’ve managed to add or remove zeros from your workflow, I’d love to hear about it.