Continuous Improvement


I have the benefit of an insider’s view of many different businesses associated with my family office and private equity work.  I sit on a few boards, spend significant time coaching and strategizing with executives, and actually have a few direct private investments myself where I am actively involved in business strategy and development.

Working In Versus Working On

When I talk to executives and business owners, a comment I hear often sounds something like ‘I want to grow my business but I do not have the time to address {you name the issue}’. The real issue is often that they are so busy working in their business, they do not take the time to work on their business.  There is a tremendous difference.  One is the daily work required to operate and maintain a disciplined business model. The other is the strategic work required to address areas where the business model can improve.

Continuous Improvement gearsWhile I am always skeptical that Mark Twain was as wise as his sayings imply, he is credited with the expression that “continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”  I think most of us have a vision for that perfect existence we desire, that utopian place we want our business to exist in, but we sometimes simply point our business towards a star in the sky and hope to get there.  However, there are few great businesses built that way.  Rather, it is the hard work of strategy, innovation, planning and relentless execution that provide the basis for a truly exceptional business.  And by the way, sustainable businesses are most often built on the lessons learned from a few failures as well. Failure and continuous improvement go hand in hand.

Elite Advisor Behavior

Blueprint operates in the asset management space supporting advisory firms, and it has always been intriguing to me that there are only a few hundred such firms in the US with over $1 billion in assets, but thousands and thousands with assets under $100 million.  My experience tells me that there are many viable reasons why this may be the case, including lifestyle choices or niche business models.  However, I would also argue that almost all advisors want to grow their business.  We studied the elite firms (>$1B) and found that the owners spend considerable time working on their businesses, and I would suggest they all have robust strategic plans that are broken down into thoughtful and executable continual improvements.

On that note, I am going to go work on the Blueprint Plan!



For more thoughts on ways to improve your investment approach visit



Recommended reading:

The Bannister Method, by Seth Godin

Kaizen (Improvement) via Wikipedia

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