We all know people who created a business which turned into a monster and ate all their time and energy. This is lame and it doesn’t have to happen to you.
As you become successful, you enter a potentially dangerous time. In our culture, it is easy to get caught up in the myth of More is Better. More work, more money, more growth, more stuff. It’s hard to say no to that kind of programming. But prosperity is not “more”. Prosperity is “enough”. It’s also not “achievement”. It’s “satisfaction”.
As you untangle your limiting beliefs, develop your business skills, and build momentum, you will realize that your company really can be as big as you want it to be. The issue changes from “How do I get more clients?” to “How many clients do I actually want?”. And that’s a time to be really careful and listen deeply to your inner guidance.
It could be you want to run a huge company. You could thrive on managing that large of a system, the complexity, the opportunity. Or you could want to have a simple, streamlined, and small operation that leaves you energetically free to do other things. Or some combination of both. The point is, don’t assume that bigger is better unless bigger is what you really want. Take some time to design your business as it grows.
Try this: assume you had a million dollars tomorrow. Would you keep your business? Would you keep growing it? What role would you play? For me, doing this exercise, I realized I would keep at least some of my businesses. This was a surprise, because sometimes I feel aggravated and think “Oh I should just sell this”. But truly, I like having it. I like that I created it, that I gave it life. So I wouldn’t sell it and move to the Bahamas. But what I would do is I would give it what it needs, and stop doing any part of it that is not fun for me. So I would hire people to fulfill various functions, like sales, programming, marketing, and billing. I’d keep doing the ideas, the vision, and the overall direction of the company. I’d work closely with the marketing people to define the vision, and closely with the programmers to make sure the product was easy to use, and closely with the support staff to make sure the customers were getting a great experience. I’d do all the things I can’t do just as one person. And I would be the “ghost in the machine” – developing the business, nurturing it, optimizing it.
So this exercise makes it clear that I like to be the entrepreneur. I like to architect the idea and have others implement it. I like to adjust and make sure all the pieces are flowing smoothly. So my ideal company size is one where I’m bringing in enough revenue to be able to hire or outsource people for all the key functions of the business, so I can focus on the overall direction and cohesiveness. However, it’s small enough that I can still keep my toe in all the various areas. I don’t want to be WalMart. Or even Amazon.com. I like being small.
So the danger of success is when you don’t realize that success as someone else defines it wouldn’t actually make you happy. In my example, if what I really loved was working with customers, and I hated thinking about all the things that go into running a business, then I’d need to design my growth path a different way. Perhaps I would rather sell the company and continue working as an employee. I would design it differently based on what I love doing.
Don’t unconsciously accept the idea that “More is Better” or “Bigger is Better”. Take the time to really consider your ideal lifestyle and work and design your business growth plan to support you to achieve that.