I have spent a lot of time analyzing why some businesses grow and why some seem to be stuck, and my favorite example has always been Starbucks. How did Howard Shultz scale one coffee shop into 23,768 locations, while in Austin, TX, Sa-Tén Coffee and Eats, for example, only has one store?
They May Want It That Way
While consultants will be happy to descend upon your business and offer-up expensive analyses of what is holding back your growth, many fail to realize that volume for the sake of volume is not necessarily the answer for everyone. Furthermore, the blind pursuit of growth can actually become counter-productive.
It Versus You
Many people accept the philosophy that your business is your boss; it has certain needs, and therefore it is your responsibility to fulfill them. Whether this conflicts with your kids’ baseball or soccer games, your vacation plans, your day off, or your general sanity, some people would say your business should always win.
Why Did You Do It?
Mike Roman often told me that he took the other view. Mike said people create their own business for certain reasons, among them:
- The ability to be your own boss.
- The possibility of unlimited income.
- A place to make things happen.
Mike further emphasized that these things could occur even if your business wasn’t number one in sales, events or even profitability.
The Four Hour Workweek Nonsense
Now I’m not going to tell you that you don’t have to work, and I’m not offering a magic method that would allow you to make lots of money while lying on the beach. Businesses want money, and they’re great at asking you for it. You do have the power, however, to tell your business to back off.
If you started your restaurant or catering business with the goal of becoming the biggest in your city, then your state, and who knows where else, quit reading this and go back to work—you have lots of things to do.
Old-school business people sometimes would say, “if you buy a small business, you’ve bought yourself a job.” They didn’t say it derisively though, and this may be where you’re at. You may gross $700,000 per year, have company cars for you and your spouse and have your health insurance paid by your business. Of course you eat for free, and there are a lot of things, like that power washer you bought at Costco, that you can take home and put to good personal use.
If you need to go the the doctor or dentist one afternoon, you don’t have to ask anyone if that’s OK, and if you want to leave early to see your daughter’s game, you can figure out a way to make that happen. And don’t forget one of my top personal reasons for owning your own business—unlimited use of a private dumpster! (I’m not kidding).
My point is that just because you own a business does not mean that you have to do everything possible to max out sales and grow exponentially. Some people have problems with rapid growth strategies since they require a totally different mindset than ma and pa have. But please do not let anyone tell you that being ma or pa is bad, because it ain’t nobody’s business but yours, and you do have the power to control it.
Want to Talk?
Think I’m full of you know what? Disagree vehemently and want to discuss this? I’d welcome a lively discussion!