Momentum, in business, is things happening faster. It’s not just growth, it’s more growth than the same period last time. Momentum, in physics, is the product of the mass of an object multiplied by its velocity.

This means that to increase momentum you need to move more mass or you need to move it faster. Force, in physics, is the time rate of change of momentum.

To increase momentum you need force. So momentum is how fast a mass is moving and force is how fast a mass is accelerating.

I’m curious how, if at all, the physics way of looking at these things relates to the business way of looking at them. Let’s say we are working for a client. Our job is to increase momentum. We can do that either by doing more, or doing the same amount faster. Faster, in this analogy, probably means more often. Either do more stuff, or do it more often, or both. But to do this we need force. What force do we apply to achieve this change in momentum? The force is that portion of the work we do that effects the outcome. Note the distinction. A lot of the work that we do in a given day is sort of like friction in a machine — it steals energy from the system. Yet friction or other inefficiencies are an inherent part of all systems. So our total capability to change momentum, the total force, is proportional to our efficiency. If you push against a box and the box doesn’t move, according to physics, you’ve done no work. The same might in some sense be true of business.

This is not to say that administration and such is a waste of time. Such activities are necessary for any business. If done correctly these activities should increase efficiency in some way and so ultimately contribute to the amount of force that can be applied.