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Dumb down & scale up

This is a great blog from Seth Godin about how our business model determines our potential. We’re doing a lot of work around vision and aspiration at the moment, and one of the keys is to locate the sweet spot where market need, your capability and your business model all intersect.

The point about business model is really well made by Seth here. If you are indeed a “special snowflake”, then your business model is one of leverage, not scale. Either is good, but the key is not to try to scale up snowflakes.

Enjoy your day,

Mike


Dumb down and scale up – Seth Godin

Small businesses rule our economy, and each successful small businesses is expected to get bigger.

Many successful small businesses are easily scaled. The owner has created something that can be repeated, a product that can mass produced, a process that can be franchised. Scaling up serves more customers and benefits the founder.

But some businesses, maybe yours, are built around new decisions and new work on a regular basis. Those businesses are also under pressure to scale, and that might be a mistake.

To get bigger, the small business that’s based on the insight, energy and passion of a few people might have to dumb down. It has to standardize, itemize and rationalize, so that it can hire people who care a little less, know a little less and work a little less, because, after all, they just work here.

Which means that in order to get bigger, the small businessperson sacrifices the very thing that brought in business in the first place.

What if getting bigger isn’t the point? What if you merely got better?

It’s entirely possible that you’re a special snowflake, that your unique point of view and understanding and care are precisely what the market wants from you… if that’s true, then hiring people to be almost-as-good-as-you isn’t going to lead to more of what we seek. It just means that you’re working harder than ever to cover for people who can’t quite figure out how to be you.

An alternative: acknowledge your special sauce and hire people only when they help you do what you do best and uniquely. Don’t worry about replicating yourself, focus instead on leveraging yourself.

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