Hi! Sarah Grace here and today we’re going to talk about building a better toolbox. You see 65 percent of small businesses won’t see their 10th anniversary and here at Mackey we just cannot stand for that. And we believe that there are there are five fundamental shifts in the way we work and lead in our businesses. we can create long-term small business success. Those are balancing your head and your heart, using data as a convener, changing your focus, stop being a fulcrum or get out of your own way, and the last is building a better toolbox.

So, one of the things that is really important in any toolbox is to create context and actually, you could really argue that all toolboxes are, are just context creators. And that’s why we use lots of things like industry benchmarks which like, don’t like stop using industry benchmarks or you know, even at percentages and ratios, we use all of these things to provide context but really is it meaningful context, we don’t know. So, one of the things that we use here at Mackey is the matrix to provide context and not the Keanu Reeves movie. This is just a very simple matrix. You have seen these and used these in your whole working life. You’ve potentially done a swot analysis, that’s a matrix. Maybe you’ve read Radical Candor, that’s a matrix. Maybe you’ve used the Eisenhower matrix which is the urgent and important matrix, right? Actually, open up any business book on your desk right now there will be a matrix there and the reason is because it’s so important and easy to use to provide context and we have to have contacts to make good decisions.

Today we’re going to talk about the impact and barrier matrix that we use here at Mackey. It’s a very simple tool and we pull it out whenever our clients are having a big moment of indecision because there are just too many options, right? This is a universal tool. It can be used to think through when your next new hire is going to be and what and who. It can be thought through when you’re thinking about rolling out services or adding locations or just in general growing your business. It is a universal tool, it can be used for your business, for your personal, but really it’s the strongest thing that we’ve found to get clients unstuck when there’s just too many options and to explain the impact and barrier matrix.

I’m going to tell you a little story about a client. So, a couple years ago we had three new owners who were prior sole proprietors come in and just merge their business. So, you can imagine there are lots of cultural, culture differences, some leadership issues and who’s in charge issues, some differences in opinion on how to grow the business and move forward. So, we decided to use our Grow4ways workshop to ideate get everything out in the open see what all of these owners were thinking and find a new concise path to move forward. And we were thinking okay we’ll have
5, 10, maybe even 15 really good ideas. That would be fantastic, even 5 would be phenomenal to grow this new company this new partnership together. And what we didn’t realize is that we would come out with 52 really good ideas. When you have 52 really good ideas with no context other than they’re really good ideas. You have no, you have no way to move forward, right? It all becomes subjective. It becomes, well, this new owner wants this or this owner thinks this is the right path and and it’s it gets too muddied and feelings can get hurt maybe it’s too personal, all that stuff. So, we pulled out the impact and barrier matrix, we assigned homework to these three owners and we said you take these 52 ideas individually and you go rank them in terms of impact. One, being the highest impact on your bottom line to three being the lowest. And barrier, A being that lowest barrier to implementation and C being the highest. And they did that homework, they came back and we had this lovely matrix of ideas, we had context.

To demonstrate this matrix, I’m going to draw it out for you and I really hope I don’t screw it up. So, on the vertical axis, we have impact from high to low and on the horizontal axis, we have barrier from high to low. I know it’s a little, a little weird. But up here, when we put all these 52 ideas we have the A list. These are the things, these three business owners are going to go after hard. They’re high impact and low barrier. So, these are really clear. This is what you’re going to do in the next 30 days, quarter, six months, a year. That are gonna make the most impact in your business, gonna be the easiest to implement. Down here where we have high barrier, low impact. We’re gonna pretend those don’t exist. We’re just gonna like sweep them off the matrix. Let’s not, let’s not think about them anymore, okay? And then down here we have our low barrier and low impact.

Now these are maybe passion projects because they’re just something you’ll want to do and maybe they’re easy to do or maybe they’re add-ons to these A list ideas. They’re not necessarily things that we’re going to just throw in the trash but we’re really not going to spend a ton of time on them. And then lastly we have these these high-impact, high barrier and these are our strategic futures, okay? So, these are the things that are maybe not within our reach in the next year or two but if we’re running our business in 5, 10, 15 years. This is where we’re we’re going to move to long term and so we want to make sure that we capture these and we hold them in our view while we’re going after our A listers. I hope this example showed how a simple tool like the matrix, in your better toolbox, helps you create infinitely better decisions and a brighter future for your business.

If you like content like this, please subscribe, like, share, throw a comment. Do something. Let us know you’re out there. I’d love to hear from you.