How Your Business Can Succeed with the Flywheel Model
October 11, 2018 | 3 min read time
Imagine a giant flywheel. It's huge, heavy, and you look at it a little clueless on where to begin. How do you start pushing this massive wheel? Well, that is your task: to get the flywheel rotating on its axle as fast and as long as possible.
You begin enthusiastically, pushing the gigantic thing and getting it to inch forward. Well, that wasn't very fun and it was very hard. Okay, back at it. You keep pushing and after a long while of persistent effort, you complete one full turn.
Okay, that was tough. But you've got some momentum now and the second full turn takes a little less time than the first one did. Then the third, and the fourth, until your wheel is turning at a good clip. All you have to do now is maintain that inertia by pushing just a little every so often.
Welcome, to The Flywheel Model: a collection of business concepts used to help a business start running, keep running, and to maintain momentum in its market. So what are those concepts, and how can they help your business?
Newton's first law says that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. And an object in motion tends to stay in motion. This is the idea that even though it might be really hard to get your business in motion, once it does begin it will be easier to continue.
Starting a business is hard. There's capital to raise, websites and business cards to develop, customers to find, and so much time is necessary in order to do it right. However, once the heavy lifting is complete and you have found your customers, found your optimal marketing strategy, developed brand voice, got the letterheads and business cards, you can begin to sleep a little bit better knowing that your business will be easier to maintain from here on out.
This is all about increasing the speed that your flywheel is operating at. Feedback loops are a way for your customers to give you feedback, and for you to use that as an opportunity to nurture a relationship. Maybe it's fixing something they didn't like, maybe it's developing a new product for a high-priority client, the feedback loop is there to create the dialogue and you should be there to continue it.
When you use feedback to improve your business, you tell the customer, "What you're saying to me matters and I care about your ideas." This is the best way to not only keep that customer, but also encourage them to tell all their friends about you. Word of mouth is still the best converting traction channel according to the most recent Nielsen report and this is what I mean by increasing the speed of your flywheel. Who knew that customer service could be leveraged as marketing? Now, you do.
This is important when considering your team. No one person can run your business, just in the same way that no one person can push a gigantic wheel all by themselves. In order to keep your business rocking and rolling, continuous small "pushes" must happen in order to keep it moving. These pushes can be marketing, sales, customer service, team management, and more.
Strengthen your team, strengthen your message, get more customers. Employee engagement is EVERYTHING when it comes to pleasing your customers. A happy team provides happiness to others, who in turn spread the good word.
This is another team-focused one. You can't move forward unless EVERYONE is moving in the same direction. You can't have three people pushing in one direction, one person standing idle, and yet another pushing in the opposite direction. Your business would go nowhere! This type of behavior is indicative of a team that isn't quite aligned with each other.
Aligning your team is a fundamental part of making the flywheel work. If everyone isn't moving in the same direction, then you are not moving forward. By keeping your team front-of-mind in your business you will help calm most issues before they ever become issues and nurture your sales cycle from the ground up.
The flywheel is essentially the idea that feedback loops create business momentum, and that increases the payoff of incremental effort. When you do good things, more good things happen.