Last month I interviewed Paul Jarvis on my podcast (Episode 365) and it was an amazing conversation that really made me think. It also received super positive feedback, after listeners picked up their own copies of the book, too. So I thought it was only natural that I feature Paul’s book here!
Company of One focuses on this idea: “small is the new big.” It’s a thought-provoking idea. In our interview, and in the book, Paul makes the case that we as humans naturally gravitate toward growth (e.g., growing bigger in business) just because that’s what we’re “supposed to do,” or that’s what gets rewarded in the media. But when that’s your only reason for growing, you may grow a business that’s beyond your liking, or grow a business that is different from why you go into business in the first place, or it may just grow beyond your control.
None of that is good, and I’m sure we can all relate to it on some level.
As I grow my team and my business gets bigger, the principles in Company of One, as well as in Paul’s own real life examples of how he’s purposefully kept his business small, really made me reflect on my own business, my team, and just how big I want to grow. Company of One doesn’t necessarily mean that your business is just one, you; you can have a large company with many employees, but still practice the principles of Company of One, where growth isn’t the main objective. It’s efficiency, it’s peace and harmony, it’s autonomy and simplicity.
But we as business owners, as entrepreneurs, we can get caught up in the growth. And then we can find ourselves in the workaholic zone, always “hustling,” and burning out. What Company of One teaches us is that it isn’t about taking all the opportunities. It’s about taking the right ones. As Paul says, Company of One leaders “turn down opportunities that aren’t a good fit.” And I love how he goes into the importance of gratitude and self-awareness as we build our businesses, too. We need to remind ourselves that it’s not about us or the growth of our business at all, but about the people we serve. Serve first!
Lastly, I believe that all entrepreneurs should read this book as a sort of gut-check for when we start to understand why we’re doing this in the first place. For the seasoned entrepreneur, it may even be a reality check that we may be growing without purpose, which is dangerous. It may also help alleviate some of the pressure we get from outside forces to continue to expand our business, when really the best answer for your business (and happiness) is scaling down and making things simpler.