Don't Grow Bigger Get Better


I've been thinking about growing my little boutique soapery a little bigger and quickly became disenchanted. Sorcery Soap

When I had another business, a long time ago, another business owner (who had a fairly large company) gave me some advice. He said, "stay small". I wondered about this statement for years.

My little company grew. We were contacted by a zoo for a large scale project. We were brought in as consultants at a very large conference hall. Although we had much to share, being one of the one of few companies dealing with alternative processes and worked on alternative construction projects, but we were small. We had experience that other, larger companies did not have.

It would have been a big gamble to take that project on with a high risk and low returns. We declined the project. As it turned out, it was very wise on our part. We employed managed growth. Over the years, we did grow a bit bigger, but we had a solid foundation of craftsmanship.

Now, having my little soapery, doing what I love every day, and having offers to grow in ways that are uncomfortable I have to ask, is this growing pain because it is new? Or is it uncomfortable because it's not the life I want? 

What I have learned from my old company is that growing bigger can be a natural course of events that never asks the direct question. We were doing our work to the very best of our abilities. 

Now, I need to employ the same idea. Just get on with the work at hand. Do the very best every day, every moment I can. Get so much better at what I do now that growing may or may not be a by-product. Here is the deal. NOTHING grows naturally forever. Nothing. 

A tree that grows too tall without a solid foundation will eventually topple. 

Human are under the impression that growth is always the way to go. I bought into this but have slowly (painfully slow) woken up.  

Humans think that cities can grow as large as they want, g o v t  can grow as large as it can, businesses can grow exponentially forever, etc. etc. etc. We are now 7.9 billion people on this planet, but we are not doing it correctly. We could be living more nobility... in so many ways. 

So, back to the drawing board - to do ALL things nobly, all things with honor. This is my "better," striving to be noble in my endeavors. I would rather have less and do all things better. I don't want more but better quality in all my affairs. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment.

5 comments

  • Cris

    Thank you for this! I wholeheartedly agree. I recently experienced something similar & had the opportunity that many dream of. After much meditation and introspection, I decided to turn down an offer that could have put my business on the map. When I weighed the reality of what it would cost me mentally, it wasn’t worth it. I’ll stick to my current pace & keep my love for creation! Thank you for sharing your words and experiences.

  • Liza Crisfield

    I love that you have posted this comment at a very crucial time for our entire world. I sense that we are growing way too quickly that many businesses are taking on too much out of their quality time to ensure growth is seen too.
    I quickly realized with time that growth was not in my best interest and decided that I would stay small and maintain adequate growth that was in line with the projects I wanted to be better at doing. So in saying that I am improving my current products so that when I do decide to go public again that I am happy and satisfied that I have done the best that I could possible achieve & I would have satisfied that I would attract the people who I was meant too.
    When I previously sold to the public, although I did extremely well I was not happy that I had done my best. I believed I could do better and strive too achieve the best I can do every day.

  • Lahia W Chabert

    I agree with your words here Bee, I too want to grow but at the expense of loosing who I am to it, what I find comforting and fun, I don’t want that. I could make plain bars day after day, with no life to them, no feeling either. If we choose to run with the masses, chasing the dollar, looking to see who’s standing on top, will we loose ourselves in the process too. Will we forget why we do what we do, why we love what we do, and we forget to be kind and share happily our knowledge and experiences. I believe if we move along in this life with the speed in which we feel satisfied with, we educate, share, and learn from others in our field, that all in it’s self is growing. Positive Growth!

  • Lisa

    This is written so eloquently. I love the over all feeling that growth can not go on forever and that it should be done with purpose, thought, emotional intelligence, love and with the knowledge that we are all in a never ending complex system of cycles that are all interacting and often in different times within their own cycles. Your post made me think of a fern. Little baby curled up then reaching out for light ( surrounded by other ferns in all states from juniors, adult to fading away transforming into dirt. And a canapy of large trees with light slipping through in slivers.

    I dont know why i saw that picture so clearly but I did. I think it was a representation of balance, cycles, a rhythm between multiple forces working together not fighting to create a functional beautiful temporary enviornment.

    I love that you run a small business. Ive seen so many companies go from high quality small to eh large or worse. Rarely do they go the other way when they get very very big. I understand having access to bigger and better equipment and extra staff. I have seen great success with companies that have struck a middle ground taking some of the load off of the main worker so they can do the most important things and or the things they are about most.

    I know most of us have felt the pressure of taking an order that is to big for one reason or another. The stress from that is not healthy and the product you get out of that is usually not your favorite. Even more so do I think is a small business important for artists since I feel you are pulling out part of your mind body and soul to create your pieces.

  • Guinea Hill Soap

    Bee – THANK YOU!!!!
    I’m so happy to have read this post at the point I’m at. I’m wanting to grow, but at my own pace and for my own reasons and pair only with the right businesses.
    I hear so much out there about growing and growing fast at that!! I know I could push myself, but I’m happy at the pace things are going and I have faith the right projects are out there. And that my products will end up in the hands of people who need them.

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