I would say it’s a given fact that every business owner questions if going bigger is really the better way for them to go with their business. Followed by the sheer frustration of not having the answer to that dilemma. I’d like to share some insights on this bigger/better agony that I have experienced along the way. Like many of you I struggle with what is right for me and our businesses in terms of size. I’ll share the things I think about and some tidbits I’ve read along the way that offered some good insight. Although I am focusing on business here I think this topic can really fall into many categories.
I personally think there is a falsehood that bigger is ALWAYS better. Our society puts so much weight on how big your business is, how many employees you have, what’s your gross sales, etc. From my numbers person perspective I can promise you I have seen both ends of the spectrum and bigger is not always better. Total gross sales, number of employees those are not strong enough measures to use, net profit is what you want. You can have smaller gross income and fewer employees, yet net way more than someone much larger. I think this is key. Don’t go for broke ramping up gross sales and employee count because you think that’s always best. Watch your net income like a hawk. When trying to decide if bigger is better, do the math and ALWAYS watch your net income. You can easily end up working way harder for little reward.
Bigger/Better has so much to do with the vision of what you want. You created this business it should exist to fulfill your career goals and dreams. It’s here to provide for your families and employees. It’s an expression of your creativity. It should help people in some way. Asking what you want this business to do for you is not a selfish act. If you think it is, give yourself a good smack and change your thinking. The more you love your business, the happier you will be, the more you will generate and give back to your teams, customers and communities. If your business is a drain and sucks the life out of you, you’ll never shine and contribute all these good things back. So yes, think about the vision that will make you happy. How big can the business be that will allow you to feel fulfilled, financially secure and allow you to have a personal life? Only you can answer that. Don’t look at everyone else to answer that question or compare yourself to others. Who cares if others judge your size, it won’t matter when you are super happy.
I used to think that if I grew our firm bigger, it would drain me. I’d be spread too thin and I wouldn’t be able to serve my clients, any personal life nonexistent. What I have found is that there is no stopping the growth. I guess technically you can by not accepting new clients. I have been forced into the decision of bigger/better. Here’s my decision – we have so many wonderful people we get the honor to work with. The new folks that come our way are lovely just like the folks that sent them our way. Growth is a part of life. I’m choosing the bigger path, not for money sake or keeping up with the Jones’s, but because we have something special with our business and lovely folks are a pure joy to work with. I feel it’s my duty as the leader to protect our vision for our business and grow in the right way that aligns with our loyalties, authenticity, and overall strive to be awesome. Being an employer is a huge responsibility, however providing an environment where someone can feel like they matter to the company and their work makes a difference is a bigger that I want to be part of.
For those joining me on the go bigger path this was a helpful insight for me that I read – the difference between a large company and a small one is in how the leader thinks. In a small company the leader is the best musician in the band. In a large company the leader is the conductor of the band. Larger company leaders have morphed themselves into the role of the conductor when once they were the best musician.
You have read my reasons for choosing the bigger path, it’s taken me 10 years being self-employed to come to this conclusion and way to many hours in mental limbo land. It wasn’t easy and I went back and forth a zillion times. I’m pretty solid on my decision and the best advice I can offer is to work on that vision and figure out what YOU want. Don’t be afraid to go against the norm. It’s also ok to want a great business but not work a billion hours a week. It’s your business to design into a masterpiece that can provide you what you want. You just have to think from a slightly different perspective sometimes. When creating your vision and what your business can fulfill for you personally don’t forget to give back to those that are allowing for your freedom, fulfillment and security. They matter.