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Bill Gates once said,  “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.”

I agree with Bill and I have my own twist: “Most people overestimate what they can get done in a month and under estimate what they can get done in a year.” 

The most productive companies and leaders realize that steady progress, even if it seems slow in any given month, can add up to a real change within a year or two. They have a positive outlook and approach to life called grit.

I’ve worked with many great companies who thought they hit their ceiling, and within a year their outlook has changed, their company culture has transformed and their growth and profitability has rocketed through their glass ceiling.

The key to making big improvements, even in the face of ongoing setbacks, is grit.

Last month I was on the phone with a company from Tennessee. The firm’s supervising foremen left along with a key No. 2 person. This move happened for reasons beyond the company’s control and its leaders were temporarily flummoxed. But with grit, knowledge of recruiting best practices and a game plan, they were able to replace both people within a month and add two more promising, young upstarts. From this setback, they have developed a system that will speed up their growth for years to come. That is the benefit of grit!

Recently, in one of my peer group meetings, Peg, who runs a business in Michigan reported she’s on track for 26 percent profit. Over the past three years she’s made jumps each year, through the constant and never-ending improvement that grit provides. This summer she took off 10 days (with her husband, who is also in the business) and she came back to a smooth-running, high-profit machine. It has not been easy, and she told me it felt like she was getting beat up along the way, but each time she looked at the results, she was surprised and wowed by what she had attained. It can feel difficult in the valley of struggle, but grit carries you up to a higher plateau of success.

Jeffrey’s Idea: A positive outlook and constant forward momentum, even in the face of temporary setbacks, are the common denominators of successful entrepreneurs.

Take Action Now:

  1. Read the new book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”
  2. Create monthly accountability so you can keep momentum throughout the year.
  3. Look for ways to turn setbacks into spring-forwards.


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Jeffrey Scott

About the Author:

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in his personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners—members achieve a 27 percent profit increase in their first year. To learn more visit

1 Comment on "Profit Power: The key to constant improvement in the face of setbacks"

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  1. Love this article and Angela Duckworth’s book is inspiring. Grit, perseverance, and passion and purpose. Took me a while to learn but after 50 years I feel like I am starting to understand. Thanks for this Jeffrey!