Sometimes chasing sales is the wrong strategy

Steve Jobs once said, ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.’ Ready to lead?”

You know how sometimes the most brilliant ideas come to you when you’re not staring at a spreadsheet, balancing your books, or doing the grunt work of business? Well let me tell you about the magic of “15% time” at 3M. Yep, 3M—the company that gave the world Post-it Notes, Scotch Tape, and even sandpaper 👈

So back in the day, 3M had a policy where they allowed their engineers to spend 15% of their work time—about one day a week—tinkering with their own projects. You heard it right. The bosses basically said, “Hey, go have some fun and maybe invent something while you’re at it ⌛

Now, you’d think this was a fast-track ticket to Bankruptcy City, right? “They’re paying people to NOT work on company projects? Madness!” But hang on 👈

Enter Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M. Silver was actually trying to create a super-strong adhesive. But what he got was the exact opposite: a stickie that didn’t stick so well. Kind of a dud, you might think? Not quite. This “failed” adhesive sat on the shelf until another 3M scientist, Art Fry, found himself frustrated with his bookmarks falling out of his church hymnal. Light bulb moment! What if he used Spencer’s low-tack adhesive to create bookmarks that stick but don’t rip the pages? And voila, the Post-it Note was born! 🗒️

Now, the immediate reaction wasn’t a standing ovation. Initially, the product kinda bombed. But 3M stuck by it (see what I did there?) and re-launched with free samples. It was an instant hit. Today, Post-its are a multi-billion dollar business 🚀

And guess what? 3M’s profits didn’t just stick; they soared. All because they let their employees wander a bit and have what we’d all consider a “side hustle” during work hours. A cost? No more like a super-smart investment 👈

So, my friend, the moral of the story for us small business owners? Sometimes, the path to higher profits is paved with Post-its, not just pushing for more sales 🚀

Letting your team have the freedom to innovate could be your golden ticket. What’s your 15% time going to look like? 😉

Disclaimer: Paul Stankiewicz is the owner and principal at Paul Marks & Co Chartered Accountants which is the trading name of Paul Marks Ltd a Limited Company registered in England and Wales (registered number 4487645).This article is designed for the information of readers only and is the opinion of the author only. Readers should not act on any of the information contained in this article without seeking professional advice. Nothing in this article constitutes advice, nor does the transmission, downloading or sending of any information or the Material create any contractual relationship. Links to third party websites are provided as a convenience to the reader, Paul Marks Ltd does not control and is not responsible for any of those websites or their content. Paul Stankiewicz and Paul Marks Ltd accepts no liability or responsibility whatsoever for any loss or damage suffered by any user of the information contained on or accessed through this article or the Material downloaded.