What's the right size for your business?
It’s a given fact that every business owner questions if going bigger is really the better way for their business. It’s a decision that causes sheer frustration when you can’t clearly decide what you want. 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 my own thought quest and some tidbits I’ve read along the way that offered powerful insight.
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 and number of employees are not strong enough measures to use. Net profit is.
You can have a smaller gross income and fewer employees, yet net way more than someone much larger. 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 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 family 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 and 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. 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. A great book on this concept is “Love your life, not theirs” by Rachel Cruze the daughter of Dave Ramsey the money guru.
I used to think if I grew our firm bigger, it would drain me. I’d be spread too thin, wouldn’t be able to serve my clients, and any personal life would be nonexistent. What I 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, instead 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 running my companies has brought me my highest highs and lowest lows, but I’d never trade it.
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 a very long time 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.