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Monday, November 26, 2007

10 Perfectly Good Reasons to NOT Grow Your Business (Part 1)

I continually hear people talk about how to grow your business. 7 steps to successful growth or 15 reasons why your business isn't growing. I have nothing wrong with most of what these people say, accept the assumption behind what they are saying is that everyone should want to grow their business.

The mentality behind the notion that growing your business is the only acceptable way of life is very American. We super size everything, we grow bigger cattle and corn with more ears on the stalk, and we push ourselves to do everything we do in some kind of bigger than life Americanized way. It is assumed that it is our patriotic duty to make everything bigger.

I've had several conversations with everyone from business owners to pastors of churches about growth. While I might get run out of town by my business coaching friends, I'm serious when I say "Not everyone should grow their business".

So, here is my rebuttal to those other lists. My 10 Perfectly Good Reasons to NOT Grow Your Business

  1. You don't want to spend the time required - 12 years ago last month I ran the Omaha marathon. I trained 6 months solid for it and ran countless miles to prepare. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely! Do I ever want to do it again? Absolutely not! I don't have the time, nor am I willing to make the time to train for another one. Similarly, it took a lot of blood sweat and tears to get your business going. There's nothing wrong with saying I'd rather not go through that again. If you have priorities that are more important than growing your business, then you are wrong to neglect them and grow your business anyway. There are only so many hours in a day. Spending them foolishly, out of priority, is not the way to live.

  2. You don't have the resources available to grow - Yes, we're the richest nation in the world and yes, our government still helps small business owners get started with some wonderful loan programs, but money really doesn't grow on trees... I just checked. If you don't have the money, people, space, etc to effectively grow your business, don't start the growth with some half hearted and half funded attempt. Underfunding is one of the main reasons that start up businesses fail. The same is true for business growth failures. Growing your business without the resources needed will guarantee your failure.

  3. You like the size of your small staff - How many times have you heard the phrase "The next Bill Gates"? It's what every American dreams of isn't it? We are all supposed to want to be Billionaire Bill. But there is nothing wrong with admitting that you like to drive into your office and seeing the same 5 to 10 employees that you know well. You even attend their kid's soccer games on the weekends and vacation together in the summer. Maybe in the beginning, Bill Gates went to a few soccer games, but at this point I doubt he knows more than 10% of his employees by name, much less knows their kid's name. If you like your small staff, you don't have to give it up. Just don't grow your business.

  4. You're happy with your current financial situation - I know it's hard to believe, but there might actually be someone out there that can honestly say, "I really don't need to make any more money. Actually, I'm quite happy with my current income and have the things I want." It doesn't make exciting news, so we hear more about the athlete renegotiating their contract or the CEO's massive pay raise, than we do the ones saying I don't need more money, let the rookie have it. But, somewhere out there I believe it exists.

  5. You don't have an ego - This is what most people fall under. They want to grow their business because they have some kind of self worth wrapped up in the size of their business. "Well Johnathon at the country club has 40 employees... I want 40 employees". Unfortunately, this is by far the worst reason to grow your business, but perhaps the most common reason. If you are able to get over yourself you may find the desire to grow your business goes away. If not, they now make a little blue pill that may help with your self esteem issues.

Part 2 (reasons 6-10) will be tomorrow.