Photo by Allison Titcomb
We spent four days at the secluded Saguaro Lake Ranch where we had deep conversation, and took deep action, about business model design.
At the end of the retreat, as we were wrapping up with final thoughts, I had tears streaming down my face from hearing the tender and heartfelt words participants shared with each other. It was as if time and space shifted slightly for a moment, and we were in a special and very sacred zone with each other. Trust was deep. Connection was tight.
I flashed back on the many times that I have gotten advice to “go bigger” and “scale” something like Lift Off. I have gotten recommendations to live stream the event, or videotape the whole thing so I could share it as a digital product.
But I would always get uncomfortable with the ideas, not because there was anything wrong with them, but because some things are meant to stay small.
In today’s business climate, there is such huge focus on scaling, churning, exploding and rocketing sales that we often forget that “going big” is not a “one size fits all” answer. Jonathan fields just wrote a great post about this where he quotes Amy Hoy’s term of “entreporn” for the media’s obsession with startups scaling at all costs.
We glorify “going big” without stopping to think about if it makes sense a) for us as individuals b) for our business c) for our customers.
To scale or not to scale; questions for your business
For each part of your business, ask yourself:
- Should this business line scale? Why?
Is it truly a unique business opportunity that fits your strengths, meets a deep need in the market, and contains true economic opportunity, or are you just doing it because you think you should?
- How will it feel to deliver it at a bigger scale?
What will the actual work feel like? Will you feel the same level of passion and enthusiasm for the work if it gets much bigger? Will scaling amplify your superpowers or diminish them?
- What time, resources, energy and attention will it require to scale?
Are you prepared to invest what it takes to scale in a sustainable way? If not, how can you make a plan to do so?
- Will scaling get me closer to my personal and business goals?
What are your personal and business goals? Have you thought through your business model and made clear decisions about the mission, vision and values of your business?
- Does it fit with my definition of success?
I am always skeptical when I hear someone say “I will be happy when I … (sell my first 1,000 books) (make a million dollars) (meet the man of my dreams).” What about your happiness right here, right now? My friend Brooke Castillo wrote a powerful post about choices she has made to forgo some amazing opportunities (appear on Oprah, get a television show, get a book deal) to pursue her own unique version of success.
There is nothing wrong with big
There are certain parts of my business that I want to scale way up:
- Big idea books that spread like an ideavirus. I would be happy to sell millions of copies of my books. 🙂
- Larger speaking engagements to feel the pulse of a large crowd when sharing big ideas that get them thinking, and inspired to act.
- Expanding the market for my core digital courses that have the capability of helping hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs.
- Sponsorships for free content so I can spend time creating killer, useful content for entrepreneurs without having to spend half my time launching products.
There are no right answers
Choose the business growth path that makes sense for you. Take your time with your decisions. Think through the implications of your decisions. Then whatever the outcome, stand proudly behind your results.