When I first started my commercial cleaning business, I read everything I could on how to start a business. My goal was to grow it into something bigger over time. I’m pretty certain the majority of small business owners would agree that they want to see their business prosper and grow. After all, so the thinking goes, “If it’s not growing, what’s the point of being in business?”
To be honest, bigger does not always mean better. After being in the cleaning industry for over a dozen years now, my small cleaning company has grown a lot. Actually I haven’t even tried to grow it all that much, just a doubling of the business every few years, but instead of letting it “mushroom”, I kept it steady and moderately sized. And I’m perfectly happy keeping it that way for now.
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 does come at a cost that most entrepreneurs don’t really think about. Taking on more business means taking on more responsibilities, other obligations and more of your personal time.
Possible Growing Pains
Office Space – You don’t want to be working in your home office (kitchen table?) forever, so maybe a nice office would be appropriate. This calls for travel time, and cost of travel to and from the office. Having an office at home is convenience, and no extra cost to your small business.
Employees – Taking on employees sometimes is an absolute must in order to move up to larger accounts. There’s nothing wrong with hiring help, but essentially it’s more money out of your bottom line and more responsibility to manage, therefore taking up more of your time in certain areas.
Time – The more your business grows, the more it requires of your personal time. Therefore it takes you away from family time and possibly from enjoying your favorite activities.
Keeping It Small
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.
There’s more flexibility, less overhead and fewer staff headaches. For my wife and I, we made every weekend a 3 day weekend.
There really is no perfect solution; there are pros and cons to both side of the argument. If you’re young and ambitious, and want to ‘conquer the world’; give it a shot!