In the fitness world, the phrase “greasing the groove” has become increasingly common. You’ll hear it uttered in gyms, among trainers, and on forums devoted to getting the most out of your physical practice no matter its scope. It sounds a little weird, but the principle is simple.
Pavel Tsatsouline, one of the world’s premier strength and conditioning coaches, is credited with inventing the concept of “greasing the groove” – and it applies to small business management as well. Tsatsouline’s reasoning looks like this:
Specificity + Frequent Practice = Success.
The prevailing ideology behind Western physical training – and, coincidentally, behind much of the strategic thinking behind business management for many decades – is that bigger is better. Bigger muscles, generally, were expected to mean bigger performance. Bigger business scale, generally, was also expected to mean bigger profitability.
Tsatsouline said that this was an outdated way of thinking. He reasoned that in addition to pure strength, an athlete should train to improve the specific skill they want to get better at, and train it very, very often.
Where does this analogy fit for small businesses? We use terms like “agile” and “niche” – but these simply describe our ability to pivot to where the most successful path may show itself. Small businesses are consistently engaged in dialogues about how to get bigger, how to broaden their reach: such a mentality is very general and doesn’t lend itself well (from a financial perspective) to frequent practice. Instead, small businesses will benefit most from focusing on the specific aspects of their models that work best, and continually iterate and improve those aspects through constant practice.
There’s another key point to greasing the groove: when you work, don’t work to exhaustion. Train often, but don’t train hard enough to break a carefully placed threshold that will burn you out in long-term recovery. For a business, this principle also holds. A business might commit too much of its energy and financial carrying capacity to a single course of action, and suddenly find its ability to cover operating costs significantly strained. This is the critical skill behind successful financial management for a business – knowing when and where to invest in improvement. Reinvest in the betterment of your business with predictable, reliable frequency, but not to the extent that you might “overtrain” and tax your resources beyond their capacity.
Following a pattern of “greasing the groove” will get your small business in the groove to growth! You may find yourself being able to apply skills that you never thought possible – all with the right plan, financial support, and mindset.