Crippled CEO Blog #057:
There are certain ideas that are ingrained deeply into us.
Certain truths that are irrefutable.
Freedom is good.
Moms are awesome.
Nazis are bad.
Old couples who have been married for a super long time are adorable.
More choices are better than less choices.
Grilled chicken is the worst chicken.
Marvel can’t make a bad movie.
Shakira doesn’t age.
Kids do better in a stable, loving home.
Boobs are amazing.
Abraham Lincoln was a good President.
And so on.
Things that we all pretty much agree on and can’t be argued. (If you have another one that I should have included, please put it in the comments.)
Another one of these is that businesses should grow. When we think of the most successful entrepreneurs, people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk spring to mind — people who have started businesses that have grown into massive enterprises.
Because if you’re starting a business, that’s the ultimate dream goal, right? In a perfect world, it takes off and grows dramatically in revenue, employees, and profit. You become ridiculously wealthy as you continue to run this huge, sprawling company (Warren Buffett), or you retire and step out of the way, living off of the dividends and selling shares as needed (Bill Gates). And the organization you started impacts tens of thousands (or millions) of lives around the world, outliving you and becoming part of the fabric of society.
But I don’t think growth has to be the goal. It can be a necessary step toward a goal, but growth for its own sake doesn’t always make sense.
When someone starts a business, typically their goal is to leverage that business toward a happier life for themselves and/or their family. Happiness is the goal.
And often, the goal is to create some kind of positive change in society, to improve something or solve a problem.
And many times, the goal is a combination of those two above. They are not mutually exclusive, and overlap is very common.
Depending upon what you’re doing, neither of those goals necessarily require explosive growth. The first one, being happy, definitely doesn’t. And a one person business is more than capable of having a positive impact on her environment.
You have to decide what you’re doing this for. There are so many stories of people who loved what they did when the business was small, but hated it when it got big. No matter what business you’re in, once it gets to a certain size, running that business becomes managing other people. For lots of people, that is the last thing they would like to do.
A business doesn’t have to be huge to give you a lifestyle that you enjoy, that takes care of your family, and allows you to have a happier life. You don’t HAVE to grow, despite the prevailing wisdom to the contrary. Momentum is powerful, though. Making a conscious choice to stay a certain size requires really understanding yourself and what you want. But if you can figure that out, and make the subsequent choices based on that, everything else becomes really easy.
(I know that you know someone who can use this. You should send it to them. And why not send a text message to the phone number 484848 with the word CRIP as the body of the message? It will sign you up to get a link to the latest blog as soon as it’s up every Sunday. Who doesn’t want that?)