Does Size Matter in a Small Business?

preparing for growth Feb 06, 2019

You own your own business, so that must mean you leave home every morning saying to those nearest and dearest: ‘I’m just off to do a couple of ‘small’ things today’.

Afterall, you only run a ‘small’ business. Right?

You probably daydream occasionally about how you found yourself here.

Maybe it was after a few years in ‘Corporate’, starting endless days grumbling under your soggy umbrella. You waited begrudgingly for public transport you felt you spent half your salary on  – just to have the pleasure of standing up all the way to your ‘day job’.

Or alternatively, you skipped membership of the ‘rat race’ and, using the business acumen you acquired from the tender age of 14 selling sweets to your pals in the playground, ran directly from the school gates into setting up your own personal ‘empire’.

Whatever the route that led you to the gate of ‘Business Ownership, its very likely there was that one clear day you can remember declaring to the world :

 ‘I’m going to work for myself’.  

And, with absolute confidence, you imagined yourself one day in the future, driving past that bus stop, tube station or school gate having just picked up your brand new car, quietly celebrating about how you have ‘MADE IT’.

But, in the early stages of your business, did you find yourself pining for long lost loves, or perhaps desperately wishing for your first experience of: standard working hours and a regular monthly payslip? 

Are you still pining?  

Or are you way past that point and now feeling it’s a good day if you just get through it !

There is a private world of business ownership ‘behind the scenes’.  It can be high risk, high pressure and significant personal worry, particularly if you care for other people who are dependent on its success.

So, with all the pressures and uncertainties you face on a daily basis you’re then described as being in proud ownership of a ‘Small’ Business.

Does that feel painfully ironic at the moment when you have the responsibilities of every aspect of the business and its more challenging than any other job you’re likely to be given in what others seem to perceive as the ‘Big’ world’??

One of the many, on-line descriptions, will tell you that you are ‘small’ because you simply have ‘fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business’. Putting a number on things, other references will say its when you have less than 50 employees.

But, if you employ less than 10 staff, you will be overjoyed to read that your business is officially described as ‘minute’.  

Lets pause there for a moment.

Picture yourself at a business networking event, you’re in mid flow with a potential referral partner or client and they ask about your business operations. Do you see yourself standing there, with a broad smile, feeling really chuffed with yourself being able to respond with the words:  ‘Oh, Its ‘minute’ ……. ? (!)

But, lets not get too downhearted, they do provide you with an alternative:  ‘micro’. Does that make you feel any better?

Whether it is based in science, academia or just plain guesswork in seeking to apply a framework for ‘size’, the life of any business owner can be a tough one and when you start to employ staff it can feel as though its only becoming more challenging.

But, to grow any business, employing staff is a necessity.   

I would like to share just one of my own personal observations from working with owners of businesses with their own ‘magical number’ of staff that has raised a very specific situation for them. It may sound familiar to your own at the moment.

So, lets keep this straightforward. You want to grow your business to get more money for yourself. You need to increase the income of the business to do that. Simple so far. On paper.  

On the outside, you will already look successful, but in recruiting more staff, together with their associated costs, you may have calculated that it is very likely to put you in an immediate, and risky, financial period, despite what it may continue to look like on the outside.

It’s the ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario for Business Owners. Do you:

  • recruit the staff first before you have the confidence to go out and secure the sales? This would give you the confidence that you can meet the needs of new customers. But, it would possibly leave you in a financially risky situation if the sales aren’t enough to cover the staff costs for a period of time. On top of that, the duration of that period is uncertain OR
  • do you get the sales in first, and then recruit the staff? You’re then taking the risk of not meeting the demands of your customers, possibly damaging your reputation. But, you reduce the financial risks.

So, do you stay where you are, or go for business growth?

One of the key deciding factors will be how you are feeling about your existing ‘people’. If you’re in a positive place, growth will feel a natural and exciting prospect.

If you are having challenges, the phrase ‘bigger the better’ could be translating for you at the moment as ‘to go bigger ….. will just bring me more headaches’.

And this may swiftly be followed by the thought : ‘would it be worth it’.

This is one of the challenges I work with clients on. Existing staffing issues ‘pre growth’ will only lead to more of the same when you increase numbers. But, I can help you to identify the barriers and help you work towards taking your business to the next level.

Give Yourself the Inside Edge on your HR.

Contact me for a Free complementary Inside Edge Kickstart Session

P.S. And the answer to the question is - YES -size does matter. To You.



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