Skip to main content
  • Register
  • Help
  • Contact us

How small changes can mean big gains for your investments

Former Performance Director of British Cycling and current Team Ineos coach Sir Dave Brailsford has long stood by his coaching practice of making marginal gains.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

Former Performance Director of British Cycling and current Ineos Grenadiers Team Manager Sir Dave Brailsford has long stood by his coaching practice of making marginal gains. Though Ineos Grenadiers were slightly off the pace this year, this approach has yielded success across two Olympiads for Team GB and led to 7 Yellow Jersey wins in the Tour de France.

Brailsford based his marginal gains approach on the Japanese business idea of Kaizen – a continuous cycle of learning and improvement. He works with his athletes to break down everything which could affect their performance and tries to improve it by 1%. Once you put all those aspects back together, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Some of the marginal gains Brailsford finds may seem borderline obsessive. During the Olympics, he hired in surgeons to teach his cyclists how to wash their hands properly to reduce the risk of infection. When working for Team Sky (now Ineos Grenadiers), he noticed that dust in the mechanics' area was affecting bike maintenance and insisted it was kept spotless. He even had the interior layout of the team bus rearranged to provide optimum comfort and recovery for his riders.

The concept of marginal gains is applied beyond the world of cycling across sectors such as aviation, education and health care. You can make your own marginal gains in your day to day life including your finances.

Get your own Sir Dave Brailsford for your finances

Our advisers can act like coaches and work with you to find marginal gains which can add up to big improvements.

They work with a wide range of clients, from beginners to seasoned pros, and can identify which areas to focus on to see the biggest gains.

Perhaps the most obvious improvement is improving your portfolio performance. Whilst improvements in portfolio performance can’t be guaranteed, even a small improvement could add up to a huge difference over time.

Even a small shift from 5% to 5.5% annual return could make a difference of nearly 8% over 10 years – an extra £800 on a £10,000 investment. Now imagine applying that 0.5% improvement across your SIPP, ISA and other investments and you’re really making a difference.

However, please note that this is an example and all investments fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you invest.

Find out more about financial advice

Unquantifiable gains

It’s less tangible, but an adviser can help you gain confidence and peace of mind. An adviser will always find out what your end goal is in order to advise you appropriately and give you confidence you’re taking the right course of action.

We’ll help you map out what you’ll need your money for and when, to help you find out if you’re on track to achieving your financial goals. So you can be confident you’ll be able to live the life you want right the way through to, and in, retirement.


Find out where you could make marginal gains

Whether you’re a seasoned investor in need of some guidance, or you’re at a turning point in your financial life and need a plan, our advisers can help.

When you take advice from us, it’s totally on your terms. You decide how you get your advice (on the phone or in person), what we advise you on and how often. We do charge for this service but you’ll only ever pay for the advice you really need.

To find out more about how our advisers could help you, call our advisory helpdesk on 0117 317 1690 or book a call back.

Book a call back

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

Editor's choice – our weekly email

Sign up to receive the week's top investment stories from Hargreaves Lansdown. Including:

  • Latest comment on economies and markets
  • Expert investment research
  • Financial planning tips
Sign up

Related articles

Category: Investing and saving

Diversification – the investor’s tool we all need to talk about

We look at why diversification is an essential tool for investors, and how to use it in your investment portfolio.

Nadeem Umar

10 May 2021 4 min read

Category: Shares

IPOs – what are they and what investors need to look out for

IPO investing - We take a deeper dive into the IPO process, looking at how it works, how to invest and what investors should look out for.

Laura Hoy

14 Apr 2021 6 min read

Category: Investing and saving

3 ways inflation could make a return

We take a closer look at three potential ways inflation could make a return and what it could mean for investors.

William Ryder

07 Apr 2021 5 min read

Category: Shares

How do you know if a company’s spending the right amount?

We look at how to understand if a company is spending too much, or too little – and why it matters now.

Sophie Lund-Yates

31 Mar 2021 5 min read