Skip to main content
mark evans

Every business wants to grow, but what if getting bigger isn't part of the game plan? What if your goal is to have a small business, and keep it nimble and manageable? Is there anything wrong with that? Is growth necessary or necessarily a positive thing for every business?

There's nothing wrong with staying small, even if it means passing up opportunities to attract more business and customers.

While growth is good, it comes with new responsibilities and obligations. If you decide to hire a full-time employee, for example, the business has to become big enough to support another person, as well as cover costs such as benefits and equipment.

At some point, a growing business will also need an office, though it's surprising how many businesses are virtual these days. Renting is an expense that comes with growth, adding another financial stress to the business.

Keeping the company small is a choice for some. And it doesn't mean these people aren't ambitious or passionate about what they do; it has more to do with the fact that they have more than enough business to make a living, without the additional responsibilities.

Some people would describe these as 'lifestyle businesses' because they let people enjoy a certain way of life that, in many ways, is simpler and less stressful than overseeing a fast-growing business with lots of moving parts. Those who don't have an appetite for growth may be as committed and involved as other entrepreneurs, but have different expectations that have nothing to do with more sales and customers. To them, there are other, more important considerations such as having time to pursue interests, spending time with family, etc.

In a volatile economy, where more and more people taking the entrepreneurial plunge, it wouldn't be surprising to see more small businesses opening that let the owners pay the bills, but also enjoy life. Maybe these people are seeking the ability to be master of their domain, without being having to be masters of their marketplace. To them, having enough is more than enough.

Don't get me wrong, growth is wonderful, satisfying and rewarding professionally and financially. However, growth isn't for people who are more content with being small and staying that way.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, which helps startup and entrepreneurs jump-start their marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups–Blanketware, b5Media,PlanetEyeandSysomos. 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 and the mesh marketing conferences.

Join The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues:

Our free weekly small-business newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe's website, you can sign up here. Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit 'save changes.' If you need to register for the site, click here.