You don’t get fit and healthy from going to the gym when you feel like it. You get there from a solid cadence of eating healthy and working out. If you plotted this behavior on a calendar you would likely see a pattern. It’s not perfect every day, but there is a consistent tempo of activity. It’s this repetition that leads to results.
I noticed cadence at work several years ago after we launched Autopilot (now rebranded as Ortto). In the best-performing months, there would be a clear pattern that led to our success. In months that were not so great, we would diverge from this pattern and often not understand why things weren’t working.
From observing this pattern I formed a thesis: that our growth was directly proportional to the cadence we operated.
It turned out that in the months we focused on just 3 things, we would consistently produce results. It’s this cadence that helped us grow to 8 figures in ARR in just 4 years.
How does it work?
To keep things simple, aim to do only 3 things per month. This should be 1 major activity and 2 minor activities. Here’s an example of what this could look like:
Launch new Reactions feature to customers (major)
Publish research about what we learnt from reaction metrics (minor)
Hold product update Q&A webinar (minor)
As a rule the major activity should be your highest objective, something that is newsworthy and moves the needle. The minor activities should be supportive of your overall major activity and help drive towards your key metrics.
Take another monthly cadence plan of a successful e-commerce fashion brand:
Launch new yoga pants line (major)
Host city running event (minor)
Publish guide to fashion-forward activewear (minor)
In this example the major event ties directly to the minor events. The city running event and the activewear guide are a chance to promote the new product line. The major activity is reinforced throughout the month by the 2 minor activities.
Cadence is contagious. It leads to your business staying top of mind to new customers, better retention of existing customers, investor interest, and your brand is perceived as a thought leader in the market. Too slow and it all goes away, too fast and you’ll tire the market and lessen the importance of your activities.
Cadence is also a management style. There are many benefits of managing yourself and your team by cadence:
It clears your headspace - you only have to focus and achieve 3 things each month;
It aligns your entire organization around 3 core goals;
You build a repeatable framework of attaining results; and
It motivates your team by consistently achieving your monthly goals.
How to plan your first monthly cadence
Start by planning your major activity. This is generally something like a product release, funding announcement, promotion or sale, customer event, or marque content such as an industry research report.
Your minor activities should support the major content but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t perfectly line up. Some examples of great minor content include:
Interviews with notable people e.g. “Kayla Itsines shares her daily workout routine”
Related product reviews or buying guides e.g. “The 5 best yoga pants you can buy right now”
How-to guides e.g. “How to look great in activewear”
Opinion articles that align with your strategic direction and challenge the status quo e.g. “Why activewear is changing female fashion stereotypes”
Customer case studies and stories e.g. “How Abigail improved her self-esteem through daily workouts”
Live events, webinars, or meetups e.g. “Fit Friday Running Club”
The beauty of minor content like interviews with notable people is it associates the brand of that individual directly with your product even if the person is not using the product.
Once you have decided on your two minor activities it’s time to get out a calendar and plot visually your major and minor goals. I’ve found that either major, minor, minor; or minor, major, minor works best generally starting in the first week of the month.
Here is a real example:
Cadence is the heartbeat of your growth. It’s an organizational mindset and framework that is the secret to superior results. I challenge you to try it next month.