The Law of Marginal Gains: A Key Strategy for Profit Acceleration in SMEs

Date Posted:Tue, 11th Jun 2024

The Law of Marginal Gains: A Key Strategy for Profit Acceleration in SMEs

In today’s competitive business environment, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often face significant challenges related to profitability, lead generation, conversion, upselling, pricing, and team leadership. Overcoming these hurdles requires not just hard work but also strategic insight and effective tools. One such powerful strategy is profit acceleration.


Understanding the Law of Marginal Gains

The Law of Marginal Gains is a principle that emphasises the importance of making small, incremental improvements across various aspects of a business. Rather than focusing on one major change, this strategy involves identifying numerous areas where minor enhancements can be made. When these small gains are compounded, they result in significant overall improvements in performance and profitability.

This concept gained widespread recognition through its application in sports, particularly by the British cycling team under the leadership of Sir Dave Brailsford. By making tiny adjustments to everything from the athletes' nutrition to the ergonomics of their bike seats, the team achieved unprecedented success, including multiple Olympic gold medals. The same principle can be applied to business with equally impressive results.

Applying the Law of Marginal Gains to Business

Incremental Improvements in Operations: One of the first areas to apply the Law of Marginal Gains is in business operations. By analysing and refining processes, businesses can identify small inefficiencies and make adjustments. For example, streamlining workflow, reducing waste, and optimising resource allocation can each contribute to a more efficient and profitable operation.

Enhancing Customer Experience: Improving customer experience is another area where marginal gains can have a significant impact. Simple changes such as reducing response times, personalising customer interactions, and improving the user interface of a website can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to increased sales and repeat business.

Optimising Pricing Strategies: Small adjustments to pricing strategies can also yield substantial benefits. This might involve experimenting with different pricing models, offering discounts for bulk purchases, or implementing dynamic pricing based on demand. Each of these small changes can contribute to a more profitable pricing strategy.

Boosting Lead Conversion Rates: The sales funnel is ripe for marginal gains. By analysing the conversion process and identifying bottlenecks, businesses can implement small changes to improve lead conversion rates. This could include refining sales scripts, enhancing follow-up processes, or offering limited-time promotions to incentivise conversions.

Improving Employee Productivity: Employee productivity is another key area for marginal improvements. Providing training and development opportunities, improving workplace ergonomics, and fostering a positive work culture can each contribute to incremental gains in productivity, which in turn boosts overall business performance.

The Power of Compounding Results

The true power of the Law of Marginal Gains lies in the compounding effect of these small improvements. When incremental gains are made across multiple areas of a business, their combined impact can be substantial. This compounding effect is similar to the principle of compound interest in finance, where small, regular investments grow exponentially over time.

For example, consider a business that makes a 1% improvement in ten different areas. While each individual gain may seem insignificant, their combined effect results in a 10.46% overall improvement (due to the compounding nature of the gains). This demonstrates how small changes, when applied consistently and across various aspects of a business, can lead to remarkable results.


The Law of Marginal Gains is a powerful strategy for profit acceleration that emphasises the importance of making small, incremental improvements across various aspects of a business. By focusing on these marginal gains and leveraging their compounding effect, SMEs can achieve substantial improvements in profitability and sustainable growth.

Rather than seeking one major breakthrough, businesses should adopt a mindset of continuous improvement, constantly looking for areas where small changes can be made. This approach not only enhances profitability but also fosters a culture of innovation and excellence within the organisation.

By understanding and applying the Law of Marginal Gains, businesses can unlock their full potential and navigate the path to long-term success.

Mike Hoff, Founder and CEO of MHC, specialises in growth strategies for small business owners. To know more about his expertise and services, get in touch at