What the buzzwords mean, and why not to use them

“We will leverage our viral marketing efforts, resulting in widespread adoption of our revolutionary ‘no-revenue’ product, as customers recommend us to their friends.”
— Any of a million forgettable business plans


Where you put in the same force but get much bigger result.

You leverage "X" to do "Y". You need a second verb in order for the construction to make sense.

You leverage small amounts of money to control a lot of money by borrowing with a small downpayment.

When you leverage X to do Y, Y must be something you could do without X. And having X must make Y a whole lot easier. If having X doesn’t make Y easier, it’s not leverage.

You leverage one person’s smarts by having them be a teacher.

You don’t leverage one person’s smarts by having them do their work.

You leverage your salesforce by having each of them get a dozen customers to become evangalists.

You don’t leverage your salesforce by having them go out and sell.

If you’re going to "leverage your technical expertise," that means you’ll use your technical expertise to produce a multiple of the results you could produce without that expertise, by automating, etc. Fedex has leveraged their package tracking system to lower costs, and increase offerings [web-based tracking, and now at-your-printer printing of airbills]

If "use" is a synonym for "leverage," you can probably safely use "use."

You don’t leverage your people unless you have a mechanism for turning 5 people’s knowledge into many more.

You leverage an expert by having them write a column. Not by hiring them to do work.

You don’t "leverage the power of the internet." You leverage the broad reach of the internet to aggregate customers from around the world. You leverage the speed of the internet to get product to your door faster than any other kind of ordering. You leverage the automation of the internet to … etc.

Click here to read about “viral marketing,” another hot buzzword.

What is Leverage? What the buzzwords mean and why …

read time: 1 min