Marginal gains - how 1% better every day adds up

Tidy is tiny.

It's just me, James, running the show day to day. With support from Jason when it comes to thinking about the Tidy brand, design and experience, etc. And support from Lynn, my wife, doing the occasional post office run to help me get our solid shampoo bars to customers as fast as possible.

I say it's just me running the show day to day, but the reality is I have a day job that takes up the majority of both my time and headspace at least 5 days a week, and we have a 3 year old who gets most of what's left of my time and headspace outside of work. So I'm really running the show and thinking about shampoo a little bit each day...

Which means I, like many business owners, am time poor.

That's not a complaint. I've chosen to start, run and try to grow Tidy. I believe it's worth my time and effort to try and have an impact on our use of single use plastics in the UK.

Being a time poor business owner, I think, can be an advantage. It forces me to focus on maximising the impact of the little time I do have to focus on Tidy.

Which brings me to the topic of marginal gains.

Smarter people than me have written about the power of marginal gains many times.

To summarise; the concept is to focus on making small, incremental improvements on a regular basis, rather than trying to make single big leap advances less frequently.

If you improve by just 1% per day, every day for a year you will have a compound improvement of 37 times by the end of the year.

The goal at Tidy is to reduce the number of shampoo bottles that men throw out each year in the UK from an estimated 64 million to zero. One bottle at a time.

So, when I find myself with that rare, small window of time that I can dedicate to Tidy my goal is to improve my chances of reaching that zero figure by 1%.

That might mean I write a blog post like this to help spread the word about Tidy and the mission.

It might mean I work on improving the website to make it easier to find and buy our men's solid shampoo.

It might mean that I work on experimenting with my solid shampoo recipe to try different scents or formulas making them suitable for more hair types.

Whatever the individual task, the goal is the same; make sure that when my time is up, Tidy is in a better state than it was when I started the task. 1% better today is better than 10% better at an undefined future date.

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