We often get asked in sales pitches: “how big is your company?”. Ugh…
There is a book written by the founders of Basecamp (a popular project management tool), called ReWork. In it, the authors proclaim the greatness of keeping your business small. It is a rebellion against the mega-corps of this world: Apple, Microsoft and the like.
This idea resonates with me in a big way. A few years ago I started down the path to grow my company with disastrous results. I took on a nice office space, hired a salaried employee, subscribed to various digital tools, a new phone system and so on. As these costs built up, I thought I could “sell” my way out of trouble. More sales would solve everything. I was building what I thought a “real” business should be. I was wrong and we began to lose money.
One problem was that we weren’t valuing our products enough; we were undercharging – even though our costs to deliver the product had grown substantially.
So I focused on changing things. I took the advice in ReWork. Instead of trying to be bigger by hiring more people and having fancy offices, I focused on trying to help more people that valued us. I cut unnecessary costs. Instead of one salaried employee, I hired lots of awesome people – but on a more casual basis – and I built my freelance network. I moved to remote co-working so I could meet more inspirational like-minded entrepreneurs, and I could work wherever I was needed. It is fun too!
As my company’s financial year is coming to an end I decided to do some analysis to see where this has gotten us. The results are great! I estimate our revenues have grown by 12% over last year. This is modest and I’m happy with it. But what’s more exciting is that our outgoings have almost halved! We’re delivering more work for less cost and are decisively profitable once again. Our customers are happy (check out our reviews on Facebook and Google). My team and I are happy.
But I’m not stopping there. Over the next few months we’re going to be smashing out a whole new look for Web Wise. We’ll be reflecting the vibrant, nomadic culture that is now thriving in our team; and showcasing the success we bring to startups and small businesses alike. Our new branding will emphasise that bigger isn’t always better. Quality of work is what counts, and how many happy customers you have. So next time you’re in a sales pitch and the client asks “how big is your company?” don’t be afraid to say “we’re small and we love it!”.
– Dan Wiseman, Founder
About the author
Founder & director of Web Wise. He writes about web design, marketing, entrepreneurship, investing and games. Dan regularly speaks on these subjects and is available for coaching and consultancy.
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