Tell me if you agree or disagree with my answer, I’d love to know your thoughts.
A good friend of mine asked me the other day “Why are people so obsessed with growing their business to make huge and increasing profits year after year, why not just earn enough to live on?”
Is it Greed?
It’s actually a fair question isn’t it? There are businesses out there generating millions in profits – do they really need all of that money?
On the other hand, there are many people who have their own small boutique business and they’re happy that it earns them a wage and gives them the lifestyle they want without any inclination to earn more than they need.
Are some people simply unambitious?
I suspect that in many cases the boutique lifestyle business owners will view the growth oriented business owners as greedy. Conversely, the growth oriented business owners may well view the boutique life-stylers as having no ambition whatsoever.
It’s fair to say that in some cases, each is correct, but not in all cases.
An enviable lifestyle
My friend who asked the question is self-employed, he has a boutique business.
I wouldn’t describe him as unambitious in the least. In fact he has an enviable lifestyle often working for a few months and then taking a few months off to tour parts of the world with his girlfriend and his dogs.
His basic needs are met, he’s debt free. He takes many extra holidays throughout the year including snowboarding and motorcycling with friends such as myself.
It’s easy to see why he asked the question about the obsession for year on year growth.
I’ve also spoken to people whose business is making millions in profits but it’s so reliant on them they’re working every waking hour with no life.
There are many reasons why you might want to grow your business. If you’re a business like Apple for example then a) there are millions of people around the world who want your products and therefore you’re responding to demand. b) they have lots of shareholders who expect their shares to grow and give them a return on their investment. A drop in profits can cause outcry and panic for shareholders as it might well mark the turning point of a business’ success rate.
You may believe that your competitors don’t deliver a great service to people and so you want to grow your business so that ‘your way’ is delivered to many more people.
I believe that the purpose of the business owner and his/her business will largely determine whether the owner will focus on growth after getting established.
Do you have a duty to grow your business?
If your purpose is to change lives for the better, then where should you stop? Is it fair on the lives you don’t touch because you felt that you’d grown enough?
If your purpose extends beyond your own needs to that of others then perhaps you feel it’s your duty to grow and expand what you do in order to reach and affect more people.
Growing a business can mean:
- Helping the economy through the tax you pay on the profits you earn
- Employing more people and giving them careers
- Making a difference to more lives through your business and its profits
- Profits can be reinvested in to the business to enhance its offerings
- Keeping competition from ruining you
- Being able to survive if you lose some big clients
A growing business is more likely to attract talented people than a business that’s merely earning enough to get by. Most people want to develop themselves and progress in life. Joining a dynamic business that’s innovative and growing is much more attractive than a business that’s – well, not!
Growth doesn’t mean greed.
Profits are a consequence of doing the right thing. If your business is making a positive difference in some way that it will make profits as a consequence of that. Many of the businesses who are making millions if not billions in profits are using that money in ways to make the world better, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, JK Rowling to name a few are great examples of people who are using their money for good.
Is it really success?
I do believe though that success isn’t really success if it’s at the expense of family, friends and health.
Many people who focus on growing their business often do so at the expense of their own lifestyle. As they grow the business they end up working more hours themselves and not getting the time to enjoy the benefits of the greater income they’re generating. This often leads to worry, stress, divorce or death.
If you’re happy with your life then you don’t need to change anything.
There is the saying though – “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got – or worse.” Why worse? The world is rapidly changing. Anyone who remains stagnant or set in their ways is likely to suffer as the world grows around them.
Growth needs to be done right.
If you grow too quickly you may run the risk of over promising and under delivering. Quality might become affected; customer service may deteriorate.
At AVN we help accountants develop their practice using our signature roadmap. The first part of the roadmap helps accountants create stability, profitability, enjoyment and importantly make more of a difference with the clients accountants work with. The second part is focused around growing and scaling in a way that maintains high service levels and the lifestyle and enjoyment of the practice owner.
We focus on putting systems in place for scaling, getting the right people involved and engaged and developing a great culture, having a vision in place that inspires those people – if your purpose is around making money then that’s not likely to inspire others to go that extra mile for customers or the business. If the purpose has a deeper meaning then it will motivate people to want to give their very best to customers and to the business.
Business growth is a choice.
We’re all different and all have different ideas about our place in the world and about our own lifestyle wants and needs.
My purpose is to help improve people’s ability to have better lifestyle choices; one way I do this is by helping business owners improve their business, which in turn reduces their stress and gets them their lives back.
I work with accountants to help them improve their business because accountants are each best placed to help the hundreds of business owners they work with grow their businesses. And from the profits we make, we’re helping people in developing countries by providing education, business support funding and the basics in terms of hygiene to give them more of a chance in life.
At AVN we have aligned ourselves to several of the UN Global Goals, we contribute to the Global Goals through Buy1Give1 (www.b1g1.com) where for every time someone buys from us we give through Buy1Give1 and several lives are positively affected in developing countries around the world.
By growing and scaling AVN in a way that retains its high standards in supporting, coaching and training accountants then I’m helping more people. That’s my reason for growing the business.
What are your thoughts?
Do you want to grow your business? If so, why?