For the past month, a contractor has been working in my house.
To use a baseball analogy, he’s a five-tool player. He’s a super handyman and a great painter. And he’s meticulous and a perfectionist.
After he finishes at our house, he has a long list of other jobs to tackle next. Mostly on the strength of referrals and repeat business, he is always busy.
So when I asked him if he would consider expanding his business by hiring people to work with him, his answer was an emphatic “no.”
He said he simply values his freedom to work when he wants more than the responsibility of having to manage a business and people.
As a sole proprietor, it made complete sense to me. However, for many entrepreneurs, the idea of not wanting to grow may seem strange. After all, who doesn’t want to make more money, handle more clients and do more work?
I would hazard to guess, however, that there are a lot of people who have embraced no growth over growth because it suits the way they want to live and work.
Running a business is hard enough without having an office, expenses and employees.
For some people, it is enough to make a comfortable living, even if means not taking their business to the next level, or having to pass on work because they don’t have the interest or capacity.
For many people, it is more important to enjoy their work, lifestyle and family.
Sure, there is a cost to be paid for not being willing to grow, but every business decision has its pros and cons.
The most difficult part for people who don’t want to grow is resisting the temptation to get bigger.
From personal experience, the pressure starts with the idea of getting an office because, after all, real businesses have them, rather than a workspace in a garage.
Then, there is the apparent need to hire people rather than use freelancers or contractors because it provides always-on resources to do more business.
At the end of the day, growth is a personal as much as a business decision.
Sometimes, it feels right not to grow, and that’s all right.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.
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