Size matters not: The virtues of keeping your small business small

By Henry Brown

There’s no doubt about it. In the western world we have an unhealthy preoccupation with size. We needlessly equate “biggest” with “best” and while we acknowledge that small businesses have economic and communal value, the majority of business websites place a great deal of emphasis on upscaling and growth. That’s not to say that upscaling your business is a bad thing. If it’s an organic consequence of your success, your business may reach a point at which expansion is the only way it can keep up with the scale of the demand that it must meet. But if your business is still in its infancy, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs in a growth-obsessed economy to feel insecure that they’re not growing at the exponential rate they feel is expected of them. Not every homespun business explodes outwards to become the next Starbucks or McDonald’s. There are many good reasons why small businesses are perfect just the way they are…

Small businesses have lower overhead

All entrepreneurs must manage the fine balance between investing enough in their business to be able to keep their operations time efficient and harmonious while ensuring that their overhead costs are low enough to stay manageable. With growth come bigger and more comprehensive overhead costs from increased web hosting space to heftier rents on premises with longer and more prescriptive leases. There’s a lot to be said for finding a small office space for rent or even working from home and using a virtual office. You may never become a millionaire, but you’re less likely to lose sleep over meeting your business’ many and varied financial commitments.

A small business allows you to play to your strengths

The greater the scope of your business, the more hats you, as an entrepreneur, will inevitably find yourself wearing. You’ll be responding not only to the daily operational needs of the business, but you’ll also have to divert your attention to the more strategic elements of your business like branding, digital marketing or diversification. While some entrepreneurs are great at this, there are many who prefer to play to their strengths and spend their days making a living by doing what they do best.

Small businesses are more agile

Take a look at the animal kingdom and you’ll see that smaller creatures are able to react quickly to the presence of larger predators and use the environment to their advantage. So too are small business owners better placed to respond quickly and decisively to consumer trends or industry changes while their larger counterparts tend to be more sluggish.

You can enjoy a healthier, happier relationship with your customers and clients

For many small businesses, the personal relationship they have with their clients and customers helps them through the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship. They know what their clients want, they know how to provide it, and if they can have a chat, a laugh and a joke with them, so much the better. Many small businesses use the personal touch and attention to detail that they’re able to give the consumer as their USP and while larger enterprises can give great customer service, quite often something is lost in translation.

All of this points to the fact that you shouldn’t fret if your small business isn’t constantly growing. Find your sweet spot and stay there if that’s what makes you happy and gives you the work/life balance you desire.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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