Grow your business smaller

Since this blog is primarily for small business owners the idea of going smaller may be the furthest thing from your mind.  Chances are you are trying to find ways to grow your business, and there is nothing wrong with that if big is how you define success.  However, there is much to be said for small as well.

What would happen if you fired some of your customers?  You know, the ones who always pay late, complain about your prices and/or service, never give you a positive recommendation, and take up large chunks of your time over the most miniscule of issues.  Right now I’m thinking of a woman who complained to me about the cost of a service call our company did for a rental house she owned.  She didn’t feel she should have to pay as much for that call as someone in a community less than ten miles away because she lived in a poorer area.  I reminded her that our supplier charged us the same for the part we used regardless of where we used it.  Our serviceman had to drive that extra ten miles to do the service call, and she was the one who chose to buy rental property in that poorer community.  She was adament that I reduce the bill which I did.  Life is too short to quibble over ten or twenty dollars.  We also never accepted another service call from her.

What would happen if you fired some of your employees?  Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank fired the bottom 20 percent of her sales staff each year. Don’t just dump them out on the street.  Help them find other jobs before letting them go, but keep only your top talent and give them substantial raises.  You would lose the employees who come in late, are less productive, and often infect other employees with their bad attitudes.  Your overhead would go down, you would be working with your top talent, the atmosphere in your workplace would be less toxic, and the ones you keep would be more productive because they are no longer carrying dead weight.

Doing these two things would change the way you could do business.  You could begin to pick the projects you actually enjoy doing rather than the ones you have to do to make payroll.  Your stress levels would go way down because now you are working with your very best clients and team members.  You would probably be more profitable at the end of the year.  Think about that: less work, less headaches, more on the bottom line.

Again, making this type of change first requires a change in how we define success.  If you want to grow your small business into the next empire, fine.  Just know that your dream could turn into a nightmare before it’s over.  If you want to enjoy the things in life that really matter: your family, your friends, your faith, your life, and enjoy a good living then you may want to consider going smaller with your business.

For other tips on small business success be sure to read my e-book Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions that Will Close Your Small Business.

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