We have two phrases we use in our little corner of the world to remind people to orient toward the most efficient forward:
"Closer > More"
"Function > Form"
"Closer over more" is a reminder to take actions that get you closer to the things that matter most, not just "more" of something.
"Function over form" is a reminder not to obsess over the tools, tactics, and what it looks like so much so that you lose sight of what you're trying to accomplish.
Even though repeating myself is one of my favorite things to do, I've written about both at length and will spare you the agony of hearing about the concept again. Instead, I'm just going to share an example that I hope you find useful.
The Revenue Trap
One of the most common ways "closer > more" or "form >function" is violated is in the form of revenue or income. Our monkey minds tell us more revenue is better and "more sales" is the path forward. This is an orientation toward more and stuck on a form (sales).
Here is another perspective to consider.
A few weeks ago I ended up on a Zoom call with a company looking to explore additional revenue streams that also had some questions about new tech, like blockchain. Here is what they said (summarized):
-Revenue: 300,000,000 a year
- Profit: 21,000,000 a year (approx 7% margins)
- Looking to grow another 10% this year (add 30 mil in revenue)
I know NOTHING about their industry. But I don't necessarily have to. The convo went something like this:
Q. "Okay, so why 10% or 30 million? Is that a revenue thing for valuation or is that just an arbitrary number?"
A. "After this next stage of building the software (about 18 months out), our expenses should drop significantly. 10% growth should net us about an extra 2 million in profit"
Q. So what you're after is 2 million in additional profit... correct?"
Note: at this point, we can see that the focus on form (revenue) could possibly be blinding them to the most efficient path toward what they actually want (profit). They have decided which tool they are going to use (sales) and are now focused on the tool (form > function) instead of the thing they are trying to accomplish (function> form). This puts them in a state of more revenue is the answer (more>closer) instead of being open to all of the possibilities to get closer to more profits.
Q. Okay, so can you send me a list of all your expenses? If there is low-hanging fruit, we might be able to just cut 2 million in expenses - the same outcome as making an extra 30 million (2 mil in additional profits)...but without the extra risk and resources that would go into selling and delivering on the 30 mil in sales...
A. Yeah, I can get that to you but I already know that one of our biggest pain points is credit fees.
Q. What are they?
A. Average about 3.1%
Q. Okay, well let me just introduce you to someone that can get them down to 2.4% to start and then probably lower it with volume. Idk, talk to them and see if they can help.
It doesn't sound sexy, and it doesn't appease the monkey mind's desire for "more" but they agreed and I made the intro thinking it will probably help close the gap for them. The next day I did the math:
$300m x 3.1% = $9.3 mil in fees
$300m x 2.4% = $7.2 mil in fees
Savings: $2.1 million
No need for new tech, no need for more offers, and no need for more risk.
The most efficient path forward.
There aren't many companies doing 300m+ in sales, so this is not a plug-and-play solution. But then again, nothing is. This is an example of just spotting someone that is stuck on "more" and/or "form" and re-orienting them to "closer" and/or "function".
Whether you are building your own business, consulting others or both I think it will be helpful to you and your clients to step back, forget the "form" for a minute or two, and rethink: what are we trying to accomplish and what is the most efficient path forward?
The monkey mind will ALWAYS fight for control, it cannot be shut off. It is always running in the background, so we must develop frameworks, filters, and tools to override it. "Closer > more" and "function over form" are just our reminders to use those tools.
Borrow them if they are helpful. Develop your own if you prefer.
Whatever floats your boat.
PS. For those that ask what the CCA is, it's just a live, interactive curriculum teaching our entire toolbox and then encouraging it to make it your own /match your aspirations.
PPS. More tools: