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The Art of Profitability Summary

Here’s The Art of Profitability summary. Learn how companies can generate more profits. Also apply the lessons for your own business.


The Art of Profitability author Adrian Slywotzky explains the different profit models various companies use to earn more money. You will learn how they work and their advantages.

He also explains how to explore the different profit models and how to apply them to your own company. You can choose one, few, or several depending on your business model, needs, and business strategy.

About the Author

Adrian Slywotzky is an American consultant who wrote several books on economic theory and management. He got his JD from Harvard Law School and MBA from Harvard Business School.

Aside from The Art of Profitability, he also wrote The Profit Zone, Value Migration, How to Grow When Markets Don’t, Profit Patterns, and many more.

Main takeaways: The Art of Profitability Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Most people don’t have a genuine interest in profit.
  2. Study successful businesses by talking with their customers.
  3. Use the profit-multiplier model.

Most people don’t have a genuine interest in profit

This is true even for those entrepreneurs and top management personnel. Most of them don’t have a genuine interest in profit. Why? Maybe they don’t know yet other profit models they can exploit. Or maybe they’re just too busy with other stuff such as marketing, operations management, HR, administration, and other stuff.

But how do businesses survive and thrive? It’s because of profit. Without it, businesses will stop operating. It takes time but without that profit, businesses will close.

That’s why business people should have a genuine interest in profits. They don’t know yet that with a little more effort, they can multiply their profits. With a little more exploration, they can grow their businesses within reasonable time.

Once they have a genuine interest in profits, they can now explore different profit models that fit their business. They can use one or few of them to test. They don’t have to put in large amounts of additional capital. They can do small tests first. You can also do that with your own company.

Study successful businesses by talking with their customers

This is valuable. It’s one sure way of getting to know what customers are thinking. It’s even more valuable than reading volumes of case studies and researches.

Why? One proof of success of a business is the number of customers it serves. The customers are the proof that the business is doing well. If you know what they’re thinking, you’ll know what made the business become successful. You’ll understand their needs and wants. You’ll also understand why they’re choosing the business.

Why you should study successful businesses? It’s one of the best ways to explore additional profit models. And you can discover those profit models by talking with the customers. Their needs and wants are the keys to getting more profits. If you take advantage of their needs and wants, you can multiply your profits.

While talking with the customer you’ll discover opportunities. Then you can create a custom solution for them. You’ll be able to find a space where your competition doesn’t occupy yet. You’ll be able to profit from that setup. And that could be start that leads to more opportunities.

Use the profit-multiplier model

This is powerful. You can take one skill or one product and you’ll be able to make money from it 5 to 6 times. This has a lot of potential. You can reach more customers or sell more to your existing customers.

This has a lot of potential in terms of cost savings and profit generation. Once the skill or product becomes successful, you can take advantage of it again and again. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Disney does it best. They make a movie. It becomes a blockbuster. Then Disney leverages the brand of that movie to sell toys, DVDs, and clothing. They also use the characters for their theme park attractions.

That is one of the best examples of success leading to more successes. They’re using the movies to generate more profits in the long run. It’s one of the best strategies out there.

Here’s another example. For example you wrote a short ebook about productivity. If it gets successful and you build a brand from it, you can create an ecourse, membership portal, and seminars from that. You can also offer consulting services because of that.

Aside from having a genuine interest on profits, studying customers, and using the profit-multiplier model, you can also learn the following from The Art of Profitability book:

  • Why you should offer a range of services with various pricing (from low to high)
  • Why you should spend more to build awareness and your branding
  • How to get big transactions so you earn more and save more
  • How can you earn more profits after the sale
  • Explore over a dozen more profit models you can use for your business

My personal takeaways

I never imagined that a company can profit in so many ways. I was fascinated on how Disney makes it. They make a movie and profit from it several times. And they do it in the long run.

Profit sources are fascinating. With just one business or service, it has the potential to serve many customers and get more sales from each existing customer. Most businesses might benefit from exploring more profit sources.

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