Think Smaller

smaller is better

Everyone is not Elon Musk or Larry Page. In fact, it’s extremely rare to have such a quality of big thinking such as solving “billion-person problems” and sending humans to Mars. You have to have extreme vision and, at minimum, have your stuff together.

If you are stumbling over simple things like getting things done or investing big, you are not even close to big thinking.

Yes, the world is open to everyone with a connection, but that doesn’t mean everyone can make big happen. In fact, it’s a lousy strategy for most people simply because they are in survival mode with health, money, relationships and their own thinking. They can’t get out of their own way.

We are in an ultra-competitive environment and the better strategy for most is to think smaller. Finding niches that match up to what you offer and honing your craft so well that you make people utterly happy and blown away is reachable with smaller thinking and ventures.

Often when I’m dealing with entrepreneurs and owners that are thinking big, they want to scale a good thing they have going. They figure it’s simple arithmetic to add more and grow revenue.

What they really mean when they say they want to grow is that they want more money. They want the rewards, but underestimate the challenge of what bigger means.

Small affords you the opportunity to be intimate, sloppier, and slower. You have more control with less headache.

Bigger means scaling on many fronts. It looks different because growth demands support and efficiency. If you want to grow bigger with scale, it’s entirely different problems that you have to care about:

Are you committed to operational efficiency?

Do you know the ratio of management to line workers that is required?

Are you committed to investing in larger sales pipeline initiatives?

Do you want the stress of overhead?

What’s the end game?

Scale is sexy. But noone lives with the consequences except you when scaling blows up because of mismanagement and underestimation of what is required. The risk/reward makes scaling attractive, but there is a real downside, and if you don’t have the stomach or talent for what is required, then it’s a poor strategy to choose simply for a perceived upside.

Furthermore, scale tends to have much more repercussions when market forces or adversity hits. That’s because the minimal support structure which enables a sales engine to flow has to stay intact.

When you are small, you can move, tact and adjust as you get feedback from reality. The downcycles are not as painful because, if you are creative, your requirements to support the business cycles are not as intensive.

And, if you are truly creative, you can throttle enough to have unlimited upside with small downside.

That’s a worthwhile strategy to consider and pursue. How can you simply get smaller so you can manage less and profit more? It starts with realizing that most things don’t matter and the things that do need to be part of your minimum viable business model.

Simply adding horsepower or size to a venture or idea only means bigger, not necessarily better.

Thought of how to get smaller lately?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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