You might be close to the action in a start-up, or a cog in a big business. Either way, you have a critical role to play in the sustained success of your business. Today, I’m going to show how you can do just that.

I’ll be drawing on the work from Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their fantastic book, ‘Built to Last’. They gathered their conclusions by comparing 18 highly-successful companies against 18 companies that did reasonably well. Both groups had the same capital, technology and start time. Despite having similar opportunities, the comparison companies were not as admired.

So, what separated the 18 visionary companies from the rest? It came down to doing one thing: preserve the core and stimulate progress. Let me explain this a little more.

Preserve the Core

Let’s start with preserving the core. Identify the core 80%, 90%, or 95% of your business and deliberately protect it.

Stimulate Progress

Then, deliberately innovate outside of this. I know it sounds simple and kind of obvious; but this separation of preserving the core and the stimulating of progress is where the magic happens. If you know what part of your business sits within innovation, you’ll be less conservative and will innovate more deliberately. Put all your eggs into the 20% or 10% you’ve carved out for innovation – and go hard.  If it fails, quit early. But remember to allow yourself to try new ideas and deliberately innovate, knowing you’re main business is protected.

So, sustained success comes down to an essentially-simple idea – clinically separating the core of your business from that part which most deserves innovation. You preserve the core, but then you stimulate progress within innovation. Go hard and fail fast.

There is no point having a core that you’re going to focus on and preserve if the whole team doesn’t buy in. This is true of innovation as well. Short-term success might come from personal inspiration. For sustained success, the team must know and understand the difference between core and innovation, and have a clear plan for both. That’s the job of the Funnel Plan. Get Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Operations together and identify your go-to-market plans for the core and for each innovation piece. If you already have a Funnel Plan, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t, get one at

I hope you got value out of today’s Funnel Vision blog. We’ll have a new blog next week, same time and same place. Until then may your funnel be full and always flowing.

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Our thanks, this week to:

  • Jane Tyquin  for blog production
  • John Ang  for video production
  • Hugh Macfarlane  for scripting and presenting this week’s show