Thursday, January 05, 2017

Go big or go home... maybe not

I recently received a long email from Leonie Dawson explaining why she was clawing back her business.

Since 2009, this creative Australian entrepreneur has built a successful global business but instead of owning her business, she’s found that it owned her.  

She’d grown the business organically with one strategy/product/project leading to another and it all worked.     

But not for her.

Leonie talks about being totally taken over by OPO (other people’s opinions), which led her down a path of exhaustion, burn out and frustration as she was no longer doing what she loved.

I applaud her for having the courage to step back and reflect on what she wants out of life.  Not only that, she’s shared what she is going to do and why she is taking such drastic steps to refocus, to simplify her business and get back to her original mission.

So often we can find ourselves on a path we never planned to take. I remember in the One Red Lipstick project interviewing a successful young entrepreneur who when faced with a large, business-changing contract, chose to turn it down. 

It wasn’t the right time for her or her young family and as she reflected on her skill set, she was an entrepreneur, not a manager.  She didn’t want to be managing a large team which she would have needed if she’d moved forward.  Instead of a creative enterprise, she would have built herself an empire and that was not what she wanted.

Yet in North American culture, the mantra is “go big or go home.”  But maybe not.

In his book Small Giants, Bo Burlingham, shares stories of successful business owners, who have chosen to be great instead of big.   He interviewed business owners who had rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satisfying business goals.  Goals like being great at what they do, creating a great place to work, and making great contributions to their communities.

Burlingham calls this route “the road less travelled” and it could be that those on that road, catch more of the scenery and are less exhausted when they reach their destination.

As you enter 2017, I encourage you to look closely at your goals.  Bigger isn’t necessarily better.  Take into consideration why you started your business in the first place.  Revisit your mission.  Give yourself permission to tailor your business to suit your lifestyle and your family, and ignore the pressures around you to make more, do more.

Remember this is YOUR business.  Own it. 

1 comment:

Jill Robson said...

Love it Anne, we get overwhelmed with advice that we stop listening to the most important person - ourselves.