The maths is perfectDecember 3, 2009
A friend and I have a phrase ‘the maths is perfect’ that we use regularly as a way to bring ourselves back down to earth when working out how much we will earn from our latest business idea.
The concept is that when you are planning and you run the numbers it all makes sense.
If I bring on 20 new clients a month and I charge them £5,000 each then I will earn £100,000 a month. If I do this for the year, actually let’s be conservative and say 10 months I will have earned £1 million in a year. Happy Days.
It all makes sense – the maths is perfect.
What this doesn’t take into account is the effort needed to get to 20 a month and an average deal size of £5,000. The amount of account management, dead time, logistics and administration work that needs to be done when you have a large number of projects on the go at one time. This means you either employee people with the associated costs and change in working practise or you have to scale back.
Suddenly – the maths isn’t perfect.
But where I really find this phrase really useful is when reading business, sales and marketing books. In all these books the scenarios for success always succeed and the scenarios for failure always fail. The author has the advantage of creating the scenarios to prove their point in isolation and so of course they are going to succeed or fail depending on what they want to happen.
So, these days when I read these books I always keep in the back of my mind that ‘the maths is perfect’ and this allows me to gain more from the books by adding in the complexity and extra details from my personal environment so that I can take away practical actions rather than just maths.