How to Focus on 10X Growth Projects

Busy marketers have to make the most of every minute we have. There’s always too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done. However, faced with a multitude of competing demands, it can be easy to work on the wrong things. If we’re not careful, that can lead to wasting effort on projects that drive incremental improvements, instead of the 10X growth that actually builds business.

 

Your success hinges on your ability to avoid this trap.

Here at CoSchedule, we always strive to focus on 10X priorities over 10% distractions. This means everything we choose to do is intended to improve a given metric tenfold, rather than by a mere 10 percent.

What does this look like in practice? It means focusing on writing new blog posts, instead of fixing minor spelling errors on ones we’ve already published. It means using data to pick projects proven to drive measurable growth, instead of relying on assumptions or chasing shiny objects. Above all, it means making sure we spend our time wisely, so we can maximize every last bit of output possible from our small team.

On this episode of #OverheardAtCoSchedule, co-founder Garrett Moon and Demand Generation Lead Nathan Ellering explain how to build a 10X versus 10% framework. This is the same philosophy and process we follow to scale our company, and it’s one you can implement within your own organization, too.

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Transcript

Nathan:
It’s so easy to work on the wrong project, so how do you make sure that you always work on the right things? I’m Nathan from CoSchedule, and this is Overheard At CoSchedule, the show where we talk about the things that we talk about around the office at CoSchedule, and today we’re talking to Garrett Moon, our-

Garrett:
It’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

Nathan:
It is a mouthful, actually. You’re used to this. We’re turning the tables today.

Garrett:
That’s right.

Nathan:
So today we’re talking to Garrett, and he’s going to fill us in on our 10x versus 10% framework, and Garrett, what is that?

Garrett:
I could talk about this all day. It’s one of my favorite things, because it’s so simple, and I think it works everywhere. Basically, 10x versus 10% is a way to segregate your projects or segment your projects into what things you should be working on versus what things you maybe shouldn’t be working on, so it’s just about a focus in priority. 10x means it’s going to grow what you’re doing by 10 times, so if you’re getting 10 visitors to your website, a 10x project’s going to take that to 100, or maybe 1,000 or a million, right? A 10% project is something that’s an incremental improvement. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing to do, but it’s going to make a very small impact on long-term growth.

10X means it's going to grow what you're doing by 10 times.

Nathan:
Garrett, we obviously use this to help us prioritize our work for the biggest growth. Could you tell me a little bit about our process behind the scenes for prioritizing?

Garrett:
Yeah, so as a team, we like to use Post-it notes, put them on the wall, separate 10x project from 10% projects, and then rank them using a one, two, three scale. So I like to think about it as, one is a really simple, low-difficulty, you might be able to complete it in a day or less, to might take you a few days, and three is probably multiple weeks.

Every great 10X project starts with an idea.

Nathan:
Yeah, and another part of this is just making sure that we’re maximizing our resources to their fullest extent. Could you tell me a little bit about that?

Garrett:
Yeah, I think the phrase I use here, sometimes, is like, “Hey, how do we get 10x growth with 10% of the effort?” And I think that it comes, again, to really prioritizing and using those ones and taking those on first, and making sure you’re working on those small, incremental improvements right away.

Nathan:
And what about an example? I think this is a pretty tough concept to grasp right away. What is an example of a 10% project versus a 10x project?

Garrett:
My favorite 10% project is fixing spelling errors on the blog. We do not go back on blog posts and do any edits, so if somebody finds a typo or a spelling error, we let it go. We see those as 10% changes, or 10% improvements. Yes, they would make our blog posts better and more accurate, but only by 10%. Yeah, it’s not really worth it. Instead, let’s take that time and put it into a 10x project, which is maybe like writing another blog post and doing something like that. Another good example is our Headline Analyzer, which is a 10x project that was definitely a three, but has been a 10x project multiple times, I think has been a great growth lever for us and was worth every bit of effort.

The Headline Analyzer has been a great growth lever for us ...

Nathan:
Yeah, and the Headline Analyzer’s a really great example of a 10x project. You can check it out on coschedule.com. That’s Overheard At CoSchedule.