Size Doesn't Matter
Last week Steve Strauss' All Business newsletter was so great, I read it twice. It's a quick read, if you want to click over and read it. If not, here's the gist: if small used to be the new big - then micro is the new huge.
And, why? Thanks to technology, of course. Now last week, I told you that while I don't think technology is the ONLY component to growing a successful business, I do think it plays a HUGE part. And, looks like I'm right. (I love it when that happens.)
It's no coincidence that the numbers of the self-employed start to rise at a time when it's easier than ever for you to buy a state of the art computer system, connect it to the Internet and hang up your virtual shingle. The world is truly flat - and I don't mean that in a globalization-Thomas-Friedman-ish way...although that's true, too.
I mean the business world today has virtually no barriers to entry - no walls or hoops to jump through...business topography is just flat. Granted in other countries starting a business is a LOT harder than in the U.S. where you can get a doctorate degree by mail...but, by and large, the scenario is improving across the board.
But, what Steve points out is equally as intriguing - how are all these microbusinesses getting work done? Marketing their businesses? Connecting with the world? The Internet. Technology. I have been saying all along that technology CAN (and will) make it easier for small businesses to ramp up with less employees - and what do you know? Guess who's right again? So to everyone who looked at me like I had 4 heads back in 1999, a digital razzberry to you. Pbblltt!
Now, we have plans to grow xynoMedia just a bit bigger but if you had talked to me two years ago, I would have said I was happy right where I was. Listen, there are loads of people who have microbusinesses that earn a very, very nice living! Vicki Sullivan. Seth Godin. Patricia Fripp. Tom Peters. (ok, he used to!) Jill Konrath. Alan Weiss. Maya Angelou. I could go on...
And, I for one, am with them. I don't want a bunch of employees hanging around. For some it's a matter of being content with their business as is. For others it's about not wanting to leave a huge carbon footprint. Sometimes it's a combination of both (as is the case with me).
Right now, we have an executive assistant, a sales manager, an associate stategist and a web developer on our team. We regularly outsource work to web design companies, copywriters and management consultants. Why hire people when you can achieve a similar result with what Strauss calls a "virtual assembly line spanning the globe"?
So, what's your deal? Do you want to stay small and scrappy or are you headed toward big and burly? Why or why not? In this day of green living and eco-consciousness, do you think there is something morally wrong with setting out to build a big business? If you're staying small and scrappy - how can/will technology help you to fill the bill and deliver quality products and services?