Exponential growth is not exactly a goal if the endpoint is not defined. It is unlimited growth for unlimited ambition. The goal is not specific and achievable, it is growth for the sake of growth. This level of ambition is not satisfied with three Tesla roadsters — there is always room for a ‘vette in the garage. And if there isn’t room, you can afford a bigger garage.
But at some point, earning another million (or even billion) dollars has diminishing returns. You can only drive one car at a time.
As an engine of growth, retention is often the easiest of the three — retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But retention alone will always result in limited growth. Consider your level of ambition and be honest with what will satisfy you. If retention alone will not achieve your ambition, then a pivot is required.
It’s a good idea to set goals before running experiments, when we’re calm, collected, and rational. It’s generally a bad idea to adjust expectations after seeing the data — that behavior leads to a false-positive bias. But if your ambition is to make $10 million dollars per month and you’re only making $5 million, isn’t that enough?
If you are of the “growth is the only economic imperative” mindset, consider this from a mission-impact perspective instead. If your ambition was to save 1,000,000 lives per year and you only saved 500,000, is that not enough to persevere?
From the for-profit perspective, if you are only earning enough to support yourself, your family, your employees, and your community, isn’t that also a worthy accomplishment?
Consider goals carefully and be honest with yourself about what would actually be sufficient — before you do the math!
- Math is cool.
- Retention alone results in limited growth.
- Set your level of ambition and calculate your required metrics.
- If you don’t like math, just use trial and error on a spreadsheet.
- Remember to make clear Persevere, Pivot, or Kill decisions.