Jerry Galison struck gold twice—not by great new ideas or luck alone but because of careful setup and follow-through.
Galison/Mudpuppy hit the Inc. 500, an index for fast-growing businesses, in 1989 and the Inc. 5000 two decades later.
The first time, he’d been a painter and sculptor for five years when he visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop and realized he could make a business of art. His first client was the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Now his firm makes custom gift cards, journals and games for dozens of museums and retailers, including Anthropologie and Target.
For each new project, the trick has been doing one thing at a time.
“I’ve always approached the business more like a farmer than an empire builder,” Galison says. “It’s always been about discipline and incremental growth. We slowly add more formats, carefully nurture them and enlarge the customer base one acre at a time. It sounds mundane, but it’s been the key to our success.”
Bottom line: You don’t need a ton of good ideas. Narrow them down to the top three and marshal your resources to pursue only the single best. When that’s accomplished, move on to the next.
— Adapted from “Slow and Steady Win Again,” Darren Dahl, Inc. magazine.
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