Macro is for the Past, Micro is for the Now

Are you looking at macro research or macro trends or any other global viewpoint of an industry, sector or market? Are you hoping to find some great new insight or innovation that you can use to turbo charge business growth?

Well don’t expect to do anything tangible with macro “stuff” or see any dramatic results within the next 24 months?

Macro research stuff is usually good for 2 things. First it can tell the story of what happened in the past with 20/20 hindsight so you can learn a valuable lesson or better understand a framework in context. Second it can give a vague and general direction of where markets, sectors or industries are headed over the next 5–10 years.

If you want to have anything tangible happen within 24 months, you have to stick with micro data. You need to look at daily sales, monthly growth rates, individual customer feedback and what is working to make a shift on micro levels.

All of these micro data points are the things that will add up to the macro data that every so called expert will look back upon years later and say “see I told you so … it was obvious that this trend was inevitable.” But during the actual time it was happening the experts didn’t do anything in their articles, businesses or industries to make the most of the trend that they couldn’t really see while it was happening in front of them.

If you want to innovate, create a new product, grow your business or change the world you have to execute and deliver on a micro level. Once you have used the macro data to learn a lesson and get pointed in a general direction, put the macro stuff in the trash and get in the trenches.

Get your hands dirty understanding customers wants and needs. Test your assumptions around your value porposition and see if customers respond to it. And if they aren’t responding by buying or signing up for your product or service as you expected, something isn’t aligned. Go back and talk to them and figure out what’s not working … then fix it … and quickly.

If you aren’t getting the website traffic you think you should be getting, ask yourself why. Is it because lots of prospective customers don’t know you exist? Is it because you are too proud or cheap to spend money on Facebook advertising or to create a few YouTube videos? Is it because you want to do it, but just don’t know how to do it or think you’re not good enough?

Once you start looking into the micro details, the ways to fix it become obvious. However, looking at these details is hard. It’s hard because it’s a bit more work. It’s hard because you sometimes don’t want to see the truth … because the fixes will require more work. And maybe it will require work that is way out of your comfort zone.

Whatever it is, you ultimately just have to find a way to get over it if you want to be successful. The counterintuitive part is that by breaking down the obstacles to a micro level, you make the challenges clear and easy to solve for everyone. It becomes easier for other people to solve challenges that suit their strengths. It becomes more manageable to distribute workloads so you’re not doing all on your own.

If you overcome all of your micro obstacles, the success will add up to the macro goals you really want to accomplish.