Is a Micro-Business the route to your success?

Why do we automatically assume that we need to build huge businesses with million-pound turnovers in order to achieve what we think success is?

Could we actually get all the fulfilment and comfort we need by staying small and keeping hold of our precious freedom?

When you ask any self-employed business owner what attracted them to start up their own business and become their own boss, most likely these three statements would have been made:

  1. I want the freedom to be my own boss and decide when and where I work
  2. I don’t want to feel like I work for anyone else, I’m more than capable of doing it for myself
  3. I can earn far more working for myself than working for an employer

Does that sound familiar to you when you decided to embark on your journey of self-employment?

So why is it, when you speak to most business owners, they claim to be earning minimum wage, (when you consider the sheer amount of hours they work and think about their business).

They also claim to be working for their employees and not the other way around.

Any decent caring employer will feel a certain responsibility to their employees so when a crunch decision needs to be made, more often than not, they will put the needs and security of the employee before their own needs.

But quite often, these are the same employees that the boss will often feel frustrated with because they don’t take the business as seriously as they should.

Is that a matter of perspective or is it a fact?

Why should an employee who trades their time for an hourly rate care as much as the business owner, who, if he runs the business right, will earn far more than the employee?

It’s a dilemma that any employer faces, and not one with an easy answer.

Why do we automatically assume that we need to build huge businesses with million-pound turnovers in order to achieve what we think success is?

There are various schemes that can be used to add incentive to a worker’s day, piece work, bonus, profit sharing, but that process then needs to be designed, communicated, implemented and managed.

This takes the business owner away from the purpose he set out to achieve in his business.

It leaves the business open to the potential of certain employees trying to manipulate the system, or arguments taking place between other workers about who gets the best/easiest/fastest work.

Then you have the issue of sick days and workers personal problems (which always usually become the problem of the boss!).

It’s easy to see how resentment can build and a working environment can quickly become a place of resentment and hostile competitiveness.

So, while the person that is managing all of these challenges tries their best to make sure everyone is happy and fairly compensated, his eye is taken away from the ball.

Other areas such as efficiency or production can slip, there’s only so many hours in a day and dealing with staff can suck them up fast.

Building systems can really help with this, but again, more investment in time and money is required.

So, what’s the answer? – Or more to the point, what’s the question?

Do you want to work for your company, or do you want your company to work for you?

Staying small could be the next BIG thing in business.

Instead of launching headlong into selling more stuff until you reach a breaking point where you need to employ someone, stop and take a minute to consider the implications of that, and set aside any optimistic voice in your head that says, “it will be OK, I’m different….”

You may very well be different, but the chances are that your logic is very similar to the many who have walked this path and continue to do so today.

There’s a very strong possibility that in the future you’ll be the one begrudging the situation that you built for yourself.

So how can you leverage other people who work for themselves, and still get the results you need?

Well, the chances are, you’re going to get better results if you use someone who’s also responsible for their own future earnings, and not someone who sells their time for money regardless of their output or quality.

This also puts you in a strong position if things are not going well.

UK employment law protects employees after they’ve been in a position for 24 months and letting them go if they are not performing becomes a strategic battle. (More employment of HR staff required).

If you use a self-employed supplier and they are not performing, the conversation becomes much easier. They know they either step up, or you find someone else. No contract, no notice period. No guilt.

Tim Ferris describes this process in great depth in his award-winning book, “The 4 Hour Working Week”.

He actually sets up a drop shipping company that works automatically taking sales on his website, and the fulfilment is carried out by various affiliates leaving him to just count the profits and pay his bills.

He claims to have worked from dozens of countries spending an average of 4 hours a week on maintaining this business, allowing him the freedom to travel and be totally in control of his vision of working from a place he chooses, not having a boss and receiving an abundance of earnings

Finding the right affiliates to work with will have its challenges, but someone who works for themselves is going to be far more motivated to deliver on time and at the right level of quality, than someone who knows they just have to clock in and out and they get paid the same.

What if the key to becoming happier and richer is to start thinking smaller not bigger?

There’s no such thing as perpetual growth. Yet that is what traditional business people crave. But what is growth meant to achieve? If Oxford University is so successful, why is there not a branch in Washington D.C.? If a symphony is successful with 120 musicians, why not even more with 600 musicians? “To grow bigger” is not much of an effective business strategy after all.

  • Richard Semler, CEO of SEMCO partners.

Creating strategic but independent partnerships could be the secret sauce to creating that success that you first dreamed of when you had the vision of running your own business.

It may seem like the wrong time to think about this while you are on the first steps in your new and exciting business, but if you want to keep it exciting and keep a tight grip on your freedom, it might be an avenue worth exploring before it’s too late…….