Brain vs. Business & the Flywheel Principle

There are parts of your brain that really aren’t qualified to run a business at all, but they’ll trick you into making bad decisions (if you let them).

This post is about the ups and downs you experience as an entrepreneur, why they don’t matter and what you should focus on instead. Plus, discover the one question you need to be able to answer about your business, if you ever want to achieve breakthrough success…


Links & Resources

  • Good to Great – book that this representation of the flywheel principle is based on. Read this if you are running a business with more than 5 employees.
  • The Impact System – my whole product creation and marketing strategy. Includes steps to take, to make sure your strategy is viable.
  • Minimum Viable Products – the most important strategy I use to make sure my business is going in the right direction.

The Question

Here’s the one question it comes down to:

What is the one thing you’re applying the flywheel principle to? What is the one thing you are working on continually and incrementally improving, every day?

Let me know your answer, or any thoughts or questions you have about today’s video.

Shane's Signature

About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Aisha says:

    In this stage of my business , I beleive that by getting clearer and clearer about my brand, what I stand for, the image I want to put out there and for who is what will help me move forward.

    The clearer I get on this the easier it is to explain what I do, share my services and do so with a consistent message.

    • Shane says:

      Yes, I believe that’s true. There’s a lot of noise that we’re confronted with every day. The more clarity you can bring to your message, the better.

  • James Bond says:


    As usual you have stirred my thoughts in a constructive way. Thank you for the insight and the question. I immediately found myself examining my activities and projects to determine if I was applying the energy to move forward in the right places. The result being that I now have set-up a new set of priorities and feel more confident that I will be able to make greater strides in the direction I want to go with my business. Thank you again.
    Hope you have a wonderful trip. It sounds wonderful.


    • Shane says:

      Thank you for your comment, James! I love hearing that something I publish makes a difference like this.

  • Rita Späni says:

    Hi Shane,

    you speak from my heart. Thanks a lot for this sound advice, not to listen to the animal-part of the brain… :D

    So i go gladly further, with the next steps in quality management and technical improvements and better communication with clients and prospects and…


    • Shane says:

      Thanks for your comment, Rita. Glad to know this helped you rethink some things.

  • Rickey says:

    Shane for me the most important thing is really learning to be in the now and appreciating it. I’ve come to learn that its all about the journey. The next moment is not more precious than this moment right here. The next moment has its own challenges and gifts. The one thing that’s really important to me is building relationships. I’m not necessarily trying to build relationships so I can grow my business but I do know that everything I get or don’t get is through other people. People first, money second.

    I’m rare because I don’t believe in this thing called competition. I believe we all have unique gifts to give to the world and when we are honoring who we are the people that appreciate those gifts will align with us. I like the idea of incremental improvement and you can really see that in a variety of industries where people rise to the top. Most of the people we hear about were those that made incremental improvements and by the time we found out about them many of them seemed like an overnight success but they had been in the trenches for a long time.

    We over estimate what we can do in a year but we underestimate what we can accomplish in 10 years or more. In this microwavable society that we live in I understand where it all stems from. With the advent of social media everyone seems to be looking for that pushbutton success. Gone are the days where people value apprenticeships or allowing things to develop in its own timing. I believe in paying attention and putting time in on the things I have direct control over and all the other things will fall where they may.

    • Shane says:

      Thank you for this comment, Rickey! I agree with all of the above. Especially that we underestimate what we can do in 10 years. Taking the long view can really pay off.

  • Paul says:

    The Good to Great book reminds me of my corporate project at my former employer in 2004. And because it’s applicable to small businesses, I copy its principles and apply it to my own business.

    One of the framework that I use is the “Hedgehog Concept”. This tries to help us find our “business DNA”. Everything else matters only if we can find the intersection of what our passion is, what we can be the best “in the world” at and what drives our economic engine.

    I am still struggling finding what I can be the best in the world at and the right metric for measuring my economic engine as well. So those two elements are my strategic focus for improvement.

    • Shane says:

      Thank you for your comment, Paul! Those are some good concepts, yes. I think the best way to discover them is to just get something out there and start grinding on that business growth.

  • Mary-Ellen McAllister says:

    HI Shane,

    I am in the process of rebranding and pointing my business in a new direction. This post could not have come at a better time. But then again, all your posts seem to hit home in some way and point me in a better way than I was heading.

    Thank your for putting so much time and thought in what you have to say.
    Enjoy your trip!

    • Shane says:

      Thank you for your comment, Mary-Ellen! I’m always happy to deliver a helpful post. :)

  • DK says:

    Hi Shane,

    I love Good to Great, and though I haven’t read it fully, I think I understand the key concepts of that book. I actually purchased it a couple of months ago.

    Your question about “the one thing” brings to mind a key concept within Good to Great: The Hedgehog Concept.

    If I recall correctly, the Hedgehog Concept is this: What can we be the best in the world at?

    I think it circles back to “the one thing” you ask about.

    The thing is, I remember reading that it took companies years (4 on average, I think) to come up with this Hedgehog Concept.

    So, what is the “one thing” for me? I don’t know yet…but…the great thing is, I don’t have to know the “one thing” before hand to have some sort of forward movement.

    • Shane says:

      Thanks for your comment!

      Yes, it ties in nicely with the hedgehog concept. And I agree that you shouldn’t worry about finding it right away. The best way to discover it is through building a business and working on growing it.

  • Xenia says:

    Hello Shane,

    Thank from Australia. Needed that! Writing a weekly newsletter is my bugbear.

    For my emails, I have to wear 2 hats.
    Hat 1: I write emails that I send to my members and they can pass it on to their clients as an email from them.

    Hat 2: I write emails to my members with business tips on how to improve their business.

    So now I am in the process of organising a system and trying to keep it coherent.

    Many Thanks again Shane,
    Kind Regards

    • Shane says:

      Hello Xenia,

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to hear that this video helped you sort your plans. Hope it’s working out well for you!

  • How to help as many people learn that the food we eat impacts our health. If we eat 2,000 calories of fast, junk or processed foods each day, our bodies will be starving for nutrients. If we eat plant based foods as grown, our bodies will get the nutrients it needs to function at its highest level!

    • Shane says:

      Thanks for your comment, Danielle. What’s missing in this statement, to me, is a target audience. Who is it for? I think it would help to have that defined very clearly as well.

  • Simon says:

    Hi Shane.
    That was a great post. There is something to be said for focusing on your strengths. Love your work keep it up.

    I bought thrive leads the other day so i’m looking forward to getting it on my site and using it.

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