The model is for me, not you

The best model you will ever build for your business, is the one that no one will ever see.

The model is for me, not you

Marcus Aurelius wrote a journal entry everyday. His journal is incredible. It kicked off stoicism and has fuelled Ryan Holiday to write some incredible books. This is foreshadowing and will connect to building a growth model if you continue reading. If not, you learned something new about Marcus Aurelius and maybe, discovered two of my favourite books.

I work on the ClearAngel product at Clearbanc and we recently started modeling the future. This is a dangerous and exciting time for any team. You put numbers into a spreadsheet, and if you do it right, you get big numbers with lots of $$$ near the top of the summary sheet.

However, modelling brings out the lizard. Things get real when you model. You start comitting, you start making bets, decisions get made… it’s downright scary. Getting chased by a jungle cat scary. The cortisol starts pumping, the veins constrcit, the stomach tightens. Shit is getting real, and fast.

“What if I don’t hit these numbers?”

“What if these assumptions are wrong?”

“What if I fail?”

Welcome… to the valley… of the real.

These are the questions that seperate amateurs from professionals. These are the best questions to ask and the more you ask, the better your answers, the better you will do. However, you should be asking and answering these questions yourself. This is shadow boxing. This is story mode, not multiplayer.

The model is for you, not for me. Right?

Managers and bosses typically ask for models.

“Sounds good, can you model that out for me? I need to see the numbers.”

When you are just starting out, it’s easy to think that they are telling you the truth, that they care about the model. Don’t get me wrong, they do, oh they certainly do but they are doing you a favour.

The model isn’t for them, it’s for you.

I build growth teams and I have a lot of ideas. The people I hire and get to work with have more and better ideas than I do (that’s why growth teams are so much fun). So you’ve got a great idea…

Really? Did you model it? How many deals will it generate? What’s the conversion rate? Are you confident in that number? Are you 80% confident or 20% confident? How are you going to do that, and the 5 other things? Have you modelled it?

The model is for you, not for me.

The more you can train your brain to put things into a model, a simple one, the better you will be at executing when the time comes. Modelling helps you figure out the inputs that drive the outputs, and even if no one ever sees the model as long as you look at it and track the actuals, you will become a god among people. Your intuitions will be sharpened and when you say that this will drive that, you will be right more often than wrong.

So you should model growth channels.

You should model new growth ideas.

You should model new pricing models.

You should model everything you can!

Discipline equals freedom.

Questions a model can answer for

  • Where are my customers coming from?
  • If I wanted to double this… how would I do that? (Michele and Andrew love that one)
  • What If this idea fails… where can I make up the gap?
  • Can I take a vacation this month?
  • Do I need to hire someone in the next few months?
  • Are we making money?
  • Are we in control of this growth?

The reason why your journal entries aren’t as good as Marcus Aurelius’ is because he wrote for himself not for you. He didn’t care if anyone read it and let him be honest, and vulnerable. The best model you build, will be the one you build for yourself. Models can be honest and vulnerable too.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and I am happy to share a model if you want me to. Let me know in the comments, and I will share a blank one. This isn’t a growth tactic, I don’t have a blank one to give you and don’t want to make one unless you think it’s valuable. If one person thinks it is, I will do it.

Alright, the model is for you not for me.

Let’s go!