Don't Grow Bigger Get Better
I've been thinking about growing my little boutique soapery a little bigger and quickly became disenchanted.
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 few companies dealing with alternative processes and worked on alternative construction projects, 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.
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 growth painful 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. It is a natural course of events.
I have done a few collaborations with other soap makers and although a bit outside my comfort area, it challenged me and brought interest and excitement to work table.
Now, I to 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. Expand, contract, and start over. The beauty of the Universe shows us that.
Corporations want us to believe they are "too big to fail" and will last forever. Most of those corporations did not exist 100 years ago, and in another 100 years probably won't be around, but die off and make room for something else. There seems to be comfort in the idea we can grow larger, in ourselves and our businesses, forever.
It is my job is to steward my love of this art-form, to protect it from those who would feed off of my little form of magic at the cost of my process. I have failed in this endeavor in the past. Did I learn this lesson or not?
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... 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; being a committed conservator, a committed steward of myself and my environment.
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, better than I was yesterday. 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, please leave a comment.
As my little soap side hustle has caught on and is becoming a full business, this has become a battle for me. Obviously I would love to make this a business to support my family and give my hubs and I a retirement fund, but I don’t want to just blow up and lose my focus on what our brand values are. Thank u as always for ur insight!!
I completely agree with what you’ve learned and what you’ve decided you stand for, each and every day. So many people get caught up in the bigger picture and they make themselves extremely unhappy with their everyday work, making their lofty goals topple.
You’re amazing, Bee. I’m grateful for ya!
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.
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.
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!