Stay Small, Stay Happy!
What if the goal of entrepreneurship is not revenue, but a fulfilling career?
Over the past few years, I have worked with small teams and big companies and I have consistently enjoyed my stints working with smaller teams.
I realized that you can enjoy the benefits of a large company—including revenue, autonomy, sales, and enjoyable experiences—without the burdens of one. In fact, I have come to a place in my life where I sincerely recommend more entrepreneurs stay small, stay happy and here’s why!
Most people think that the goal of entrepreneurship is to build a billion-dollar business, but what they don’t realise is that it is often achieved at the cost of their health and relationships. Have you noticed that all of the richest people in the world are divorced! However, if you tweak your mindset and think of entrepreneurship as an opportunity to have a more fulfilling career, you will soon discover that a small business is a way to go!
Dean Cycon had been selling his fair-trade coffee to Whole Foods Market outlets in New England for five years when he got "the call." The natural-foods giant wanted to expand the distribution of Dean's Beans Organic Coffee from the 17 stores that already carried the product line to the entire U.S. Whole Foods roster.
Sounds like an entrepreneur's dream come true, right? But Cycon hesitated, he said, "I looked at what that would do to our company," says Cycon, CEO. "First, it would require us to add evening production shifts, which we're not interested in because family and quality of life are a big part of our company culture. It also would require a $500,000 investment in machinery to make roughly the same profits. I realized we'd have to work three times as hard to be in the same place financially in terms of profit, and what's the point in that?"
Cycon respectfully declined the Whole Foods offer. Instead, in the 10 years since, he has expanded organically at a slower, more comfortable pace that has allowed him to stick to his business principles.
"Growth is the outcome of business done well; it should not be the goal," he says.
The bigger the company, the more the headaches!
For many people, entrepreneurship doesn't mean building the next billion-dollar company; it means independence, the freedom to chart their own course.
With the prevailing mantra at most Indian startups being "bigger is better" and “Growth at all costs”, keeping a tight rein on expansion may actually be better for the company because it comes at a cost!
Staying small isn’t about settling for less, it’s about prioritizing what’s really important in life!
So here are 5 benefits of staying small that may convince you that expansion for the sake of growth is a fool’s errand.
Focus On Value and Quality
When deciding to stay small, you can focus on proving higher quality solutions, solving higher-value problems. A smaller company can more easily tailor-fit their service and offerings to their client creating stronger ties, trust and repeat customers.
When your goal is growth, your focus is split between sales, hiring, operations, process etc. However, when you commit to remaining a small operation, you can focus on value and quality, both for yourself and your clients.
Work With Smarter People
Smaller teams mean fewer people and that means you put in more effort to hire the right people for the job. This eventually means you hire smarter, more capable people and build lasting relationships with them!
One of the biggest areas of expenditure for firms is on human resources (time and money) and marketing. Both these expenditures come down when you decide to stay small and you have more money to share with your employees and retain them for longer.
Imagine all the time that you could spend with your family when you do not have to do perennial hiring, constant employee monitoring, client pleasing etc!
Focus On Your Strengths
As a company grows, so does the role of its founder and often not in the way you would like it to. The founder can often become more distanced from the actual workings of the company as they move toward a higher-level management role.
On the other hand, in a small business the founder can stay closely connected with the company’s work and keep doing what, presumably, they set out to do in the first place by starting the company.
A lot of people think of entrepreneurship to build a billion-dollar business, often at the cost of their health and relationships. I sometimes wonder, what are you going to do with a billion dollars that you cannot do with a few million? However, if you tweak your mindset and think of entrepreneurship as an opportunity to have a more fulfilling career, you will soon discover that a small business is a way to go!