Take money to the bank, not percents

A former boss once told me, "You can't take percentages to the bank. You take dollars and cents to the bank."

This is a great saying.

Rather than having to rationalize each purchase as a percentage of the yearly budget, it allows for gray area, discussion and creativity.

With this statement in mind, I was able to think about relationships with customers rather than having to protect margins on individual sales. It also allowed me to take more risks, make more mistakes and learn more about our customers.

In business, many people measure things using percentages. It's done for many reasons — simplicity, comparison, protection of profits, etc.  However, percentages usually come with assumptions. I am not saying to avoid percentages at all costs, just realize any assumptions that are built into the percentages.

I remember this saying and think about it when someone mentions things like budgets, pricing, promotions and margins. 

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