It’s the Little Things

man on laptop in campervan

Small efforts for big outcomes

What ends as a big advantage starts as a small one and compounds over time. Stop looking for big gains and start grinding on the small ones you can repeat day after day.

–Shane Parish, Farnam Street Blog

Shane’s perspective here is so good, bringing a cross-disciplinary approach to thinking about what contributes to our success as a person or business. For a close corollary check out Jim Collins on the Flywheel Effect in Good to Great. Jim doesn’t have a pithy quote so follow the link if you wanna dive in (if you’re a founder, it’s well with it).

One of the key features of both perspectives is timescale. The timescale of the impact created by compounding interest in investing—and in the way Shane uses it—is measured over years or decades.

When thinking about business wins, many are prone to go for the home run, for “crushing it!” As Shane and Jim point out, the greater gain is more likely to be found in small wins and our willingness to grind on those key things that incrementally add value to the business over time.

Oh, and by the way grinding like this is… well, it’s a grind! Winning this way doesn’t have the glamour of things like product launches or closing a funding round.

This is hard. It’s hard to figure out that one thing to grind on. You may have to try a lot of different things—and test and measure—before you find something that’s going to have that impact.

And it’s frustrating! To be successful, you have to continue to execute consistently, to cope with the impatience that rises up—in the face of nothing apparently happening—at least in the short term.

But if you can do it, the rewards are great. If you can get into and maintain a steady cycle of small wins, maybe just 10% a month—or whatever works for your particular business—then sure, in the short term there’s not much to see. But look back after 6 months or 12 months and that adds up to something meaningful.

Look back after 5 years or 10 and that’s a whole different story! You can leverage that compounding interest not just in investment returns, but in the growth of your business too.


To put it simply: if you want big wins, focus on small efforts first. Put together a plan for consistent, incremental success and the bigger wins will come. Keep grinding while you’re waiting for them!


It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or just trying to do better in your work or studies: it all comes down to this—commitment over time. Don’t worry too much about the big wins. Focus on small efforts every day and let that be your path to success.

Make No Small Plans

man on laptop with coffee

Making Big Plans – and then breaking them down into actionable steps – is a great way to move towards your dreams by focusing on small efforts every day. Focus on setting realistic goals and taking consistent action, and you will eventually get there.

The founders of Summit Series, an inspirational event company designed for entrepreneurs and high-productivity people, have a mantra for this: Make No Small Plans (in fact, they wrote a book with the same name).

It’s great advice, because if you have no plan then nothing gets done. And it’s even better advice when you realize that your “big plans” can actually be the key to unlocking a series of small wins that get you to your end goal.

Effectively, what this means is that your eventual success is the result of a thousand small tasks done over and over, each moving your business one step closer to its next goal.

We all want the big wins—closing a deal, launching a product, or taking our business to the next level—but we don’t always have the resources (or time) to make those dreams come true right away. The secret is in making small plans and taking action on them every day.

This could mean setting aside an hour of uninterrupted work every day, committing to writing 500 words a day for your blog, or simply aiming for incremental improvements in an area of your business.’

The key is to focus on consistent, incremental success over time (big plans)—even if they’re enacted as small wins—and let that be your path to those big wins.

Compounding interest for your business

The power of compounding interest isn’t just for investing—it can also apply to our personal and professional lives too. As Shane Parrish puts it, “Success comes not from the home runs but from consistently making contact with the ball.”

The truth is, often these days we look for shortcuts, quick fixes, and hacks hoping they can get us somewhere faster and with less effort than plodding along a more traditional path. But in reality, there’s no substitute for consistent execution over time. In fact, those who focus on small consistent actions are those who tend to find the most success.

The takeaway here is clear: focus on small efforts first and the bigger wins will come later, as a result of compounding interest. With enough hard work and dedication, even the biggest goals are within reach.

So take it from Shane and Jim, put your head down, and get to work on those small but consistent efforts. You never know what kind of big wins you might end up with!

So, when should you start? Well, now, right?

The sooner you can start compounding, the sooner you can start putting energy into the flywheel, the more significant the results will be downstream—five years out, ten years out.

So how does this relate to digital marketing?

We believe that, to the extent your business is online, your business strategy and your digital strategy are one and the same.

Marketing is often talked about as an investment—even though, more often than not, it’s categorized as an expense. And as far as timescales go, the desire is to see results quickly, in months if not days.

Yes, there are strategies and tactics that we can employ that will produce results in the short term but to reap the results of compounding, or the flywheel effect, we need to be thinking about a longer-time scale.

As digital partners, we want to be looking for those areas of your business that are online—that are digital—that can be leveraged through small consistent efforts.

You might look at customer lifetime value (LTV), focusing on how you support and communicate to your existing customer base, as a place where a small consistent effort would produce gains over time.

It’s easy to forget about the long-term view when it comes to digital marketing. We get caught up in the short-term wins and, before we know it, weeks have passed and our efforts haven’t yielded any tangible or lasting results. Taking a longer-term view helps you set realistic goals for your SEO and growth and focus on making small but consistent improvements that can pay dividends over time.

If you’re looking to make meaningful improvements in an area of your business, take Shane Parrish’s approach: Set realistic goals with achievable action steps and put the effort into executing them consistently over time — you’ll be surprised by how far you can go!

Chat with MSB today to learn more about how we can help you reach your digital marketing goals. Our digital strategists are well-versed in the latest trends and techniques, so they can give you an edge in the competitive world of digital marketing. Let’s do this.

It’s not sexy, but if you can find the piece in that execution to grind on that will improve that LTV for each customer you acquire, you’re not only getting more of a potential economic value from each customer, you are also increasing the likelihood they will be advocates of your brand to others—attracting more customers, who will be more valuable and advocate for more customers, and so on.

As with the financial gains from compounding interest, it takes a long time for the impact of the effort to show up. There’s going to be a period where the gains are small, where it feels like you’re going nowhere — ”feels like” being the key issue!

In those moments it’s easy to give up, to try something else. But you have to be persistent, you have to be consistent and you have to be willing to commit to something long enough for the effects to be seen.

Whether you’re just starting out, or further down the road, finding that input, identifying it, measuring it and feeding that input back into your business—closing the loop on that virtuous circle—will give you an outsized advantage in the marketplace over the long-term.

SEO & Compounding Results

Applied consistently, over time, SEO efforts can build slow and steady growth in organic (Google) website traffic. A positive increase in traffic—even a small incremental gain—sends a signal that Google follows, sending even more traffic to the site, producing a virtual circle of increasing demand.

This is what we mean by compounding – that small wins lead to big gains.

In order to maximize its impact, SEO efforts must be focused on applying consistent and reliable strategies that can be measured and optimized over time—such as optimizing page titles, building backlinks (especially from high-authority sites), improving page loading speed, optimizing images for faster loading times, improving keyword targeting accuracy and more.

These are all areas where small but consistent effort can lead to big rewards down the line—as long as you stay the course! With patience and attention to detail these tactics will slowly but surely increase your website traffic and create a snowball effect of compounded gains.

The Takeaway: Small Consistent Efforts Can Produce Big Results

There’s a lot to be said for taking a long-term view when it comes to digital marketing. It’s easy to get caught up in short-term wins, but if you can focus on making small but consistent improvements with measurable results, you can create a virtuous circle of compounding gains that will pay off over time.

I’d love to chat with you about implementing a digital marketing strategy to reach your goals. 

Reach out here.

John Walden – 5.5.22

SEO & Compounding Results

Applied consistently, over time, SEO efforts can build slow and steady growth in organic (Google) website traffic. A positive increase in traffic—even a small incremental gain—sends a signal that Google follows, sending even more traffic to the site, producing a virtual circle of increasing demand.