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  • Writer's pictureBrian and Davis Garrison

The Case for Staying Small, as a "Company of One"

There is no doubt that the normal, appropriate and perfectly acceptable measure of success is measured in growth. Year over year growth in revenue, number of clients served, products sold, locations opened, employees on staff. There is nothing to argue with in that. I am all for growth!

I just choose not to participate.

This post, this website, and my business owes everything to a book called Company of One by Paul Jarvis. It makes the argument for why staying small is the next big thing for business. Nothing I read in it was surprising to me, other than I had never seen this concept in print before. Paul said everything I was feeling, and I am forever grateful.

Proven business strategy is well documented. In order to grow, you must delegate. It is a mistake to think you can do it all, and do it better, and still do it more. You have to choose.

I choose to stay small. This is just me, nothing against any other design. I like working directly with my clients. I like to do the writing, even though I know someone else could do it. I like to do the administrative work to stay on top of things, even though I know someone else could (maybe should!) do it. There is no doubt the workload would be easier if I could let go.

Common advice is to hold on to the important things in your business, and delegate "the rest". This opens channels to serve more customers, of course. But "the rest" is part of my business. "The rest" affects my customers. I have trouble letting go, not because I don't trust others, rather because I want to do things my way. I could teach others to do it my way...but maybe that defeats the purpose. And so, I choose to serve fewer folks. Better is more.

As far as revenue goes, yes, I do love to make more. Profit and I get along real well. But profit and revenue are not the same thing. Both beg the question, "how much is enough?". If Bryan Media generates just enough revenue to allow me to serve my customers well...who are paying me with that goal in mind, isn't that what it's all about? More isn't better unless you need more to do better, and if that's the case, maybe you have a different problem. Better is more.

The downside to a lack of growth, and lack of time to serve customers well, is that you have to say no to people a little more often than you'd like. I don't like to do that. But if saying no to some helps me to say yes to my current customers, I'll make that trade, as much as it hurts to do so. Better is more.

When would I hire? To flip the idea on its head, instead of hiring to fill the "rest", I'll hire someone to do the really important stuff if they can do it better than I can. Thats an added expense, yes. Not an opportunity for growth. Again...better is more.

Please don't get me wrong. I am all for growth and the things it takes to get there. I'm all for the comfort it provides and the opportunities it brings to more and more businesses, potential employees, community success, etc. I have helped companies grow in the past, and am proud of every accomplishment along the way. Capitalism and growth are alive and well in the United States of America, and I support that fully.

But for Bryan Media Strategies, we will remain a "Company of One".

Bryan Lefelhoc is a 32 year marketing veteran, owner of Bryan Media Strategies. Bryan Media Strategies is a "company of one' marketing firm designed to serve small businesses with back to basics brand awareness marketing. For Brand Building Strategies, done "On Target, On Budget, and On Purpose", schedule some time to talk.

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