Straight Talk

Where’s the flywheel?

Energy is imposed upon an object to transform it or create motion in respect of it. Lighting a match, moving a weight or climbing a hill all require energy and are imposed for a…

Where’s the flywheel?


Energy is imposed upon an object to transform it or create motion in respect of it. Lighting a match, moving a weight or climbing a hill all require energy and are imposed for a purpose of changing state, shape or direction to someone or something. Mostly, when that igniting energy stops so too does the change. But not always! For centuries developers have used the mechanical benefits of a flywheel to efficiently store and distribute energy. It serves to smooth, store and amplify the energy derived from the source that created its rotation.

In contrast, a company is a creature of statute and lifeless without the driving impetus of its Directors. It will lie inert unless its Directors cause activity to take place and return to dormancy when the activity stops.

Although it is accepted that the company cannot act by itself and that its energy must come from the Directors, I do not accept that the company’s energy is Director based alone. Consider as an example the circumstances where the law observes that a company has committed a crime or become negligent. The causation of those events will certainly be Director based but the energy that prosecutes them will be external to the Company.

In the same way, whether desirable or not, what the company does through its Directors creates the existence of an impression that, in varying degrees, repels or attracts. This is residual consumer energy and is framed by the breadth and depth of recognition in the marketplace, valued by the degree of acceptance and measured by the volume of sales commitments that surface.

Drawing a parallel between the phenomena of a flywheel and marketplace acceptance of the company’s behaviour is perhaps an odd one to make but consider for moment how the attributes of both are aligned. The efficient flywheel delivers its energy product smoothly, stores energy from its source for later and creates more energy than is used to rotate it. Customers perception of the company will be based in the friction around its delivery, the afterglow of that delivery and the value provided for their cost incurred.

Store surplus energy, energy created, latent energy, smooth delivery of energy. Flywheel diagram

Every company has a flywheel, it’s size, shape and latent energy is what distinguishes it from any other. It isn’t a constant and is as capable of change as time and resources are available. Furthermore, it’s not even complex! When you consider that people buy from people and in that context, it’s no different to the interest, or not, that one person has for another. What makes a company attractive is how the Directors weave into the commercial activity those things that customers appreciate and value.

Below are five simple hints that will make a difference.

  • Know the good or service that you provide and the value of it. No one cares how good you think you are or that you have been in business for a very long time. Customer interest is self-interest, as it ought to be. The value that you can deliver to them is what will be top of their mind.
  • Understand your customers perception of value. Get to truly and completely understand what your customer wants and make your offering match. Ignore the selling tricks and luring processes. Bi-benefit sales occur when there has been a meeting of the minds and not before it.
  • Make deliverable promises. Define your value and reduce it into words that communicate. This will not be as easy to achieve as it is to say but the more you search out and describe the value profile the more likely you are to reach a reconciliation of thought with your customers. When done, make promises about that value and then unswervingly deliver against them.
  • Learn how to communicate and do so politely with good commercial manners. Go to great lengths to be respectful. Consider that attraction is a manifestation of will to be near. Nothing acts as a better repellent than sloppy, aggressive, self-indulgent or dogmatic communication.
  • Build a team.Engage like-minded people that willingly embrace the ethos of the company that you lead. It is unreasonable to expect them to be a contributor to the same extent that you are but they can, and should, be wedded to your purpose within the scope of their employment.

Marketers often talk about the brand of the company but it is the branding of our actions that causes the company to gain a life of its own. When you turn the lights out at night you want a positive flywheel energy to remain and that is determined by what you do!

Bryan Williams
Business Director – BWA Insolvency Ltd.