The highest-leverage way to grow a business faster is to DOUBLE DOWN on a target market, sales channel, use case, or marketing message that is already working very well.
But there’s another playbook that also gets companies (and careers) moving faster.
I call it the UNSUCK playbook.
They don’t talk about this in strategy books, but there are times when this is the highest impact thing you can do.
It’s usually after your business has been growing and things are starting to feel complicated.
Something is off in your business, but there are so many things going on it’s hard to find the specific reason.
You try spending more on proven tactics, hiring better, and turning off things that don’t work as well, but your results stop improving.
Growth happens at first when you are unusually good–or great–at something for a particular target customer.
But as you grow and the market matures, the bar is raised on what customers expect of you.
You are no longer a scrappy startup (or first-time founder) with excuses.
That’s when things you SUCK AT start to be noticed. A thing you didn’t have to worry about before becomes important.
- Customer service becomes a deal-breaker for old customers
- Product performance or user experience suddenly becomes a problem
- Those ignored features of your product lose deals
- Your competitors are landing punches and winning deals
- Your first scrappy employees suddenly aren’t cutting it
Now you can’t avoid it. You have to move this from SUCK TO UNSUCK as quickly as possible.
I didn’t say you need to be great at it, or even good.
You’ve ignored this a long time already. You’re not going to master this anytime soon. And you probably never need to.
You just need to NOT SUCK at it.
To make it NOT NEGATIVE.
What gets a startup moving and growing is your amazing strengths. Your ONE THING.
What stalls and slows a growing company is often one or two noticeable things you SUCK AT that you haven’t fixed yet.
There will always be many things you are bad at relative to your competitors. You don’t have to do everything well.
But there are usually ONE OR TWO high-leverage things you need to stop being noticeably worse than your competitors.
Double down on that for a while. Just get it to parity.
Make it UNSUCK just enough not to be noticed.
Then go back to focusing on your strengths.
For founders and leaders, this looks like an important new skill or set of knowledge—a weakness—that you don’t like but you can’t delegate. You just can’t ignore it anymore.
In a multi-step process like a supply chain or sales funnel, this looks like fixing the weakest link in the chain.
Is there an important thing on your procrastination list that you should move from SUCK to UNSUCK with focused attention?