They tell you big is good
Since starting a business, I have attended hundreds of workshops, presentations and seminars. Really anything I can get my hands on that will give me more information and tips on running a business and becoming ‘successful’.
But, the more I took on the advice of the experts and started to grow the business the more stressed I became, the more hours that I worked and the less the money came in.
I’m not saying that all of this advice was a bad thing – I now have a much better understanding of actually how to run a business (come on, let’s face it, do any of us really know what we’re letting ourselves in for when we start out!?) I have much better workflows, business system setup and can (almost) read a P&L report. But – the bigger the business grew (and I’m certainly not saying I was running a multi-national here, a couple of staff is all I am talking about) the more headaches I had.
Take staff members, anyone who has ever tried to hire knows (aside from the mass of paperwork and the expense of superannuation contributions etc.) it’s hard – you’ve grown your business from nothing and you’re now trusting someone else to take your reputation and run with it. Not only do you need to train and build up the new team members’ skills until they become productive but you then also need to learn all sorts of other skills yourself like delegation, patience and the rude awakening that not everyone thinks the same as you and they can’t read minds!
Then there’s the sleepless nights. These new team members are now like children to you, you have mouths to feed which means you need enough new sales / clients. So you work even harder to go and bring in new business which increases your hours yet again and as the new team member is still not quite up to their full productivity level you’re filling that void too. Client service is starting to slip as your focus keeps shifting, oh, and of course all this time your profitability is going down.
And all of this got me thinking.
Is bigger really better?
For all of my business buddies in the process of scaling up, taking on extra team members, brokering huge deals and expanding into new premises – good on you! Every respect and I wish you well.
For me, I had broken the first rule of business. I didn’t know why I was trying to expand, I didn’t know why I was taking on new staff members, I didn’t know why I kept increasing the client load – what was the end point?
So is bigger really better?
And what is growth anyway?
Yes I want to grow and continue to grow both personally and professionally but do I need to run a multi-million dollar agency with 50 staff to do so?
The more ‘successful’ I was, the more miserable I was becoming, getting more and more stressed and forgetting why I had started the business in the first place.
Through both Pepperpot Marketing and Confessions of a Small Business Owner I champion the little guys, the micro business owners, the solopreneurs, mumpreneurs and the wanapreneurs – so why was I trying to be any different?
I think part of the problem was that I didn’t know how to help more people unless the business expanded, and by expanded I mean taking on team members, contracting out more and more of the work and helping any and every client that needed it. Having found other ways to help (e.g. through online programs such as the 12 Week Brand Transformation Program) this problem doesn’t exist – I can help more people than ever!
So again, no disrespect to anyone in ‘scale mode’ I love nothing more than hearing about expansion success and next level growth. But for me, for the time being at least – I’m going to stick where I am. In my beautiful home office. Where there are no fights about the radio. Where I can determine my own hours, eat lunch at 10.30am if I want to, and get really stuck into some passion projects (watch this space) and be committed to a handful of key clients that I can make a real difference too.
So what do you think? Are you quite happy being a ‘one man band’ or is world domination more your thing?
Love your work!
"Confessions of a Small Business Owner"
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Chief Brand Strategist
Kerry Chick is a stressed out business owner who, in her head runs a super streamlined, beautifully efficient, well-oiled machine of a business. The reality is a little different….here are her confessions!