Right-Sizing and The Concept of Enough
Right-sizing your business.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a couple of
weeks months. Nobody really asked me anything, but it’s one of those things you often don’t know to ask.
How big should my business be?
I honestly don’t know why this doesn’t come up more often, but I guess it’s our ‘More is Better’ culture. The obvious answer seems to be “As big as we can get,” but often as not, that isn’t really what we want. (Joel makes a great distinction in his book about the difference between the entrepreneur and the self-employed. Even though they look the same on the outside, the mindset is very different)
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of reasons why you might not want to get bigger.
- You’re effectively serving a tiny niche that is underserved by the industry at large. Growing bigger would force you to expand outside your niche, putting you in direct competition with other players, and likely inhibit your ability to serve the customers you already have.
- You don’t want employees and/or to manage sub-contractors
- You want to manage every aspect of your customers’ experience.
- You offer a ’boutique’ product or service with a price point that means it’s not only profitable with a small number of clients, it’s actually better to maintain exclusivity.
- Your service is regular and consistent, and you only ever need to get a new client when an old one leaves.
- You want to focus on other things than growing and managing a business.
- ‘Scaling’ would cause more problems than it’s worth.
How Do You Decide?
What’s the right-size for you? What size would serve your life, your livelihood and your personal growth best?
What’s the right size for your clients/customers? For your business/industry?
Can you let go of the ego-trip that explosive growth affirms and concentrate on stable, sustainable growth?
Can you be satisfied with enough? Or will you always be chasing more?
Really, it’s such a personal, open-ended question that I’m just going to shut up now.
This may be the first time that’s ever happened.
(Ok, now I’m really shutting up.)
(Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments!)
These questions feel related to "your resentment rate" - albeit it, at the other end of the scale...
Wow, that list of questions reminds me of the lists I throw out from time to time. It's refreshing to see someone else doing it.
Even people who aren't chasing money can still grow well beyond their ideal point. Our ambition for prestige, respect, and all the "good" virtues can become a trap. I've fallen into it before and I've seen countless people do the same.
I'm not sure what the right size is for me yet. I'm just five months in to my entrepreneurial endeavors and trying to figure it out. But I know one thing for sure. I definitely haven't come close to hitting it yet. in any category :)