Why do some companies succeed while others go round in circles?

Bill Gates is famous for saying, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR”

Though this was said in the days before the internet, social media and digital marketing, we can clearly see that Bill, like many entrepreneurs, would spend the dollar rather than save it.

Why? Because he sees value in the investment. There is no hesitation.

Though simple, the practical answer is somewhat more complex and has massive implications for the future.

To cut costs or seek growth

As the chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his budget yesterday – the balancing act he faced is the same act businesses, senior management and stakeholders have been facing for the last 14 months. Namely, balancing surviving and striving.

We face this and countless challenges every day. Many argue that life is a daily battle of making the right choices, negotiating with oneself. In modern parlance, swiping left or right. Sometimes making a choice and regretting having not gone the other way.

It is an internal dilemma that faces us not only in business but equally in our personal lives. In many ways, the personal impact of this question probably highlights the answer to this question.

It can be as simple as buying a well-recommended business book or joining a gym.

The dilemma: Do I tighten my belt and save or do I purchase that book, read and invest in myself? Do I join the gym, invest in my health or save money?

The world is full of good intention

If we look at the scenario of saving or buying a book, the reality is that if you have the flexibility to buy the book, you should.

The real problem is, once purchased – did you read the book?

More importantly, once read do you take action and act on the book’s advice?

The truth is that bookshelves and desks are full of half-read books. Good intention never acted out.


Equally, there are gym memberships taken out in January and the gym never entered into after March.


We, like the world, are full of good intentions.

Breaking the cycle

So, the question is less about cutting costs or investing but more about taking action – continually and with the right focus.

Why? Because most things we do in life are reactionary and without planning.

We are influenced by competition, the here and now and our egos.

We make decisions by comparing ourselves to what we want rather than what we have.

The path to success

Going back to Bill Gates, the reason he had no hesitation in investing in marketing, is that he knew it had value.

The crucial difference was – he also had a plan. A strategy.

Most business, we meet have an intention and maybe a loose business plan. What they don’t have is a robust blueprint that encompasses successful habits of companies that are succeeding every day.

Many businesses may even have a marketing plan but when examined, it is more of a to-do list that quickly turns into a checklist.

Cut costs or grow

Successful brands have a clear strategy. That strategy shows value and that strategy determines the decision.

However, think about this. Successful brands have a clear strategy. That strategy allows them to make difficult decisions and make value out of the investment. 

So is saving the pennies always going to be the right approach?

If you would like to learn more about devising a marketing strategy, please contact us here.

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