Finding Your Big Small

Andrea Belk Olson
3 min readDec 26, 2023

Small things can have big, lasting impacts. For example, 60% of the fish food that organisms living in coral reefs eat comes from the tiny larvae of tiny fish. Coral reefs could not survive without them. We often don’t consider the small — especially in business. Small changes are typically overlooked, and the big changes usually get all the attention.

But small is essential. Small is important. Small has compounding effects. Small changes in how you serve a customer can change an experience into something unforgettable. Small changes in a process can eliminate 7 minutes of waste a day, but add up to a week’s worth of hours saved in a year.

Not all small changes are the same, and one of the most valuable things you can do to set yourself and your organization up for success is to find your big small. A big small is about identifying a small change that has a big, long-term impact.

Maybe it’s switching from soda to water. Maybe it’s spending 10 minutes a day working on that book you want to write. Maybe it’s taking time to examine your customer base and find out which ones are the most profitable and why. Maybe it’s getting out of the office and finding out about the customer experience by interacting with front-line employees.

None of these will change your life overnight. None of these things will make your annual report. But each of these small things has the potential to be big if you have the patience to do the small things. You’ll find that in a few months, your decrease in soda calorie intake delivers a few lost pounds. You’ll find in a few months that you have some complete chapters of your book. You’ll find in a few weeks that your most profitable customers have key things in common, providing a new growth path. You’ll find in a few weeks that some simple changes can be made at an operational level to create a uniquely positive impact on both the employee and the customer experience.

It’s not always feasible to make big changes, which is why it’s important to take the time to find your big small. Even though those big, sweeping changes get all the attention, small changes can be just as, if not more, important. Big smalls are much less of a heavy lift, and you can reap much bigger rewards. It just takes a bit of patience, strategic selection, and consistency.

As Albert Einstein said, “Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world.”

— About the Author

Andrea’s 25-year, field-tested background provides practical, behavioral science approaches to creating differentiated, human-focused organizations. A 4x ADDY award-winner, TEDx presenter, and 3x book author, she began her career at a tech start-up and led the strategic sales, marketing, and customer engagement efforts at two global industrial manufacturers. She now leads a change agency dedicated to helping organizations differentiate their brands using behavioral science.

In addition to writing and consulting, Andrea speaks to leaders and industry organizations around the world. Please reach out to Andrea to access information on her book, keynoting, research, or consulting. More information is also available at or

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Andrea Belk Olson

Behavioral Scientist. Customer-Centricity Expert. Prolific Author. Compelling Speaker. More at