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The Compounding Effect: The Power of Small Incremental Improvements

Ethan Lieber
May 25, 2019
The Compounding Effect: The Power of Small Incremental Improvements

When one of our founders, Will Gordon, left Amazon to start Latchel, he brought a few learned leadership principles that we apply here in our daily operations. One of them being continuous improvement.

The Compounding Effect: The Power of Small Incremental Improvements

The end goal of this is value. Anytime we can improve the value of our services, growth and scalability tend to come with it, for both our clients’ businesses as well as our own. When high growth and scalability become a seemingly daunting vision, we remember the compounding effect.

As Will put it in our recent live session on earning customer trust, there is a simple formula that shows the power of small incremental improvements:

If we improve just 1% of whichever process we apply this to every 260 work days in a year, we don’t just improve 2.6x. With the compounding effect, we will have improved that process 13.3x by the end of the year. With these habits of improvement in play, it’s not long before the company is looking completely different.

Below is how we define continuous improvement:

You can’t get better by staying the same. There is always more to learn and grow as individuals and as a company. We constantly seek to understand why the industry works the way it does and how to make it work even better. We challenge ourselves to grow, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Growing, even when it is uncomfortable, is a key factor here. Continuous growth by way of small incremental changes comes down to our daily habits. As Aristotle put it:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

To be able to make these small incremental changes we need to be able to identify both the bad and good habits at play, break the bad ones, and exercise the good ones. This can be an uncomfortable process. Though, just as we exercise our physical muscles and limit any intake of toxins to maintain a strong, healthy body, the more we exercise our good business habits and eliminate bad ones, the stronger and healthier we get as a company.

Here are a few things we do at Latchel to improve daily:

Constantly ask for feedback:

Any time there is an opportunity to get feedback from our users, potential clients, or internal employees, we ask for it. There are things that we don’t always get direct insight into, so feedback (whether it’s positive or negative) is used as a way to audit the processes in place.

Continuously implement changes based on feedback:

When positive feedback comes through, we look for ways to beef those processes up. When negative feedback comes through, we look at what needs to change. Is it a vendor that needs to be blacklisted? Is it an employee who’s efficiency processes need to be improved? Is it a process in our system that should be updated based on how customers are using it? What ever it is, we have a bias towards action.

Use the positive feedback for online reviews:

The first part of getting positive reviews for online marketing is to know when to ask for feedback. We always ask for feedback after a potential positive action has taken place. So for an owner, it might be when you provide a financial statement at the end of the month. For a tenant, it could be for when you complete a work order for them. We ask for feedback after every request that has come in. Any time there is a positive review that comes back we then ask them to post it online.

If negative reviews come in, we respond graciously, because it’s just another opportunity for us to improve our processes and continue those small incremental changes.


At Latchel we take over property maintenance coordination giving property managers the time to focus on company growth.

We do this through our 3 core products:

  1. Our after hours emergency service, which ensures you are never woken up in the middle of the night for a maintenance call again;

  2. Our 24/7 emergency service, night or day, all day, every day, we’ve got you covered;

  3. Our premium service, which is an all encompassing maintenance coordination product.

Of our 1400 tenant reviews, we boast a 4.7 out of 5 stars for tenant satisfaction. Property managers who have switched to Latchel, on average, have reduced their time spent on maintenance to only 15 mins per day for every 100 units.

We improve the maintenance experience for everyone because at Latchel, we truly believe that you cannot get better by staying the same.

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