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The Hidden Power of Zero

InTouch - Newsletter - #86

Welcome to the eighty-sixth edition of “In-Touch”. As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit reply and let me know what you think.

Story of the Week: "The Hidden Power of Zero"

On a recent Aegean Airlines flight to Athens, I found myself seated next to Petros Lazarou, the visionary mind behind the leading property agency G&P Lazarou.

As our conversation unfolded, Petros shared some useful insights into a topic which, I confess, I have never paid much attention to: the way we interpret ‘zero’.

I remember being taught at school that zero separates negative numbers from positive numbers and that zero itself is neither negative nor positive. Petros Lazarou, however, views zero from a business perspective and not a mathematical one.

He impressed me greatly with his insistence that, in a culture where debt is a common burden, zero could be considered as a positive number, especially in businesses which are self-funded and may not require any or much debt to start with. As he astutely pointed out, being at zero signifies freedom from debt – a common aspiration of many people around the world.

You can choose to see zero as a starting point or a baseline for literally millions of actions and projects. Viewing it in a positive light offers numerous advantages:

  1. An Opportunity for Growth: Starting from zero can be liberating. It allows a business owner to envision and build something from scratch, without the burden of existing debts or constraints. This mindset fosters creativity and innovation, opening doors to new opportunities for growth and expansion.
  2. Efficiency: Achieving zero waste or zero defects can be a goal for operational efficiency. It signifies optimal resource utilization and streamlined processes, which can lead to cost savings and increased productivity.
  3. Flexibility: Zero represents a clean slate, providing the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions and pivot business strategies as needed. A business can thus be more agile and responsive to emerging trends and customer demands.
  4. A Positive Mindset: Embracing zero as a positive concept encourages a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. Instead of focusing on what is lacking, business owners can focus on the possibilities and potential for success, leading to greater motivation and resilience in the face of challenges.
  5. Risk Management: Zero can also symbolize risk mitigation. By maintaining a zero debt or liability stance, businesses can reduce financial risk and protect themselves against economic downturns or unforeseen circumstances.

So, while zero is usually seen as a synonym for ‘nothing’, in business it can actually mean a lot. And despite what my maths teacher once told me, there is clearly a great deal to be said for utilizing the hidden power of zero.

Words of Wisdom

“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”

Stephen Hawking

A Question to Ponder, dear friend.

“Have you had an experience of zero being correctly seen as a positive concept? Tell me all about it!”

Hit reply and let me know.