Everyone is always on the lookout for the Next Big Thing. Today’s podcast is about a book called Company Of One by Paul Jarvis. It is a book all about why staying small is the next big thing for business. “What if the real key to a richer and more fulfilling career was not to create and scale a startup, but rather be able to work for yourself, determine your own hours and become a highly profitable and sustainable company of one. Suppose the better and smarter solution is to simply remain small. This book explains how to do that”.
Get your Rockstar Visual summary of a leadership book each month by joining here.
Connect with Me:
[00:00:00] Everyone is always on the lookout for what the Next Big Thing. Today’s podcast is about a book called Company Of One by Paul Jarvis. It is a book all about why staying small is the next big thing for business.
[00:00:15] Today’s episode will give you the highlights of this book so you can see if you’re interested in reading yourself, or you can click in the Show Notes for this episode and I have done a visual of this book. So if you’re all about the summaries and getting the key points, this is what you want to get your hands on.
[00:00:31] So let’s get into the key points of Company of One -why staying small is the next big thing for business.
[00:00:37] According to the blurb of the book: “what if the real key to a richer and more fulfilling career was not to create and scale a startup, but rather be able to work for yourself, determine your own hours and become a highly profitable and sustainable company of one. Suppose the better and smarter solution is to simply remain small. This book explains how to do that”.
[00:00:57] By going through the book, my opinion is there are some wonderful points in here and some great points for people in business of any size. It’s not exactly the “how to” that you might expect from reading the title of Company of One. It’s more about a philosophy.
[00:01:13] So let me share with you some of my key takeaways.
[00:01:17] First one, and I think the main point, is “working for yourself does not mean working by yourself”. There is quite a difference. The idea of a Company Of One, you can still have contractors and a small team, but it’s more about the philosophy of staying small, where the end goal of your business is staying small, not just a stepping stone to a bigger dollar amount.
[00:01:40] The other philosophy is all about making your business better, not bigger. Sometimes we get caught up in growth for growth sake. Or it’s what we’re expected to do or what we think people expect us to do, or sometimes we just do it. As opposed to thinking, well, is this what I want? One of the points of the book was really about Purpose. And to have this Company Of One idea is really about understanding your real, underlying purpose, because this is what shows up in your actions. Why do you want to work for yourself, and who will drive you or who will keep you going? When things get rough? And that’s one of the toughest things about having what they call a Company Of One, or having a small business.
[00:02:26] There are four reoccurring characteristics of a company of One. You need to be Resilient, which I’ll go to in a moment. You need to have Autonomy and Control. The third is Speed. And the fourth is Simplicity. To this idea of Simplicity- to get started, you need to understand what is the smallest version of your idea and how can you make it happen quickly?
[00:02:51] It’s all about launching quickly and launching often. There is a great quote by Reid Hoffman, who was a key part in LinkedIn, who says, “if you aren’t embarrassed by your first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”. Which makes me both uncomfortable and happy at the same time, hearing that quote.
[00:03:11] One of the reoccurring characteristics I mentioned before in Company Of One is Resilience. The book talks about success in business is more about Resilience than Education. They define Education as training or experience, but Resilience, resilience is the key.
[00:03:27] Resilience is about acceptance of reality, a sense of purpose and an ability to adapt. So much of business is about how can you get up when you’re knocked down, not how can you have a great idea. And that’s where I think a lot of people get stuck in small business.
[00:03:44] Something that’s not expected a lot when people start their own business is the downside. We think about where you can set your own hours and you have the flexibility and you can just do what you’re really great at. But unfortunately, what a lot of people don’t see is you only do about 50% of your time in the areas that you’re really good at.
[00:04:08] The other 50% of your time is working ON your business, which is your sales, your systems, your HR processes, your accounting, your technology, your marketing. Working ON the business is at least 50% of your time, and working IN the business, your core skillset, is 50%. And a lot of people will say, I probably do it less than 50% in my core skillset. Working IN the business and I probably do more working ON the business.
[00:04:38] Another point is the philosophy of spending only when profit allows it. Instead of getting investors and spending money up front to reap rewards later on, it’s all about getting that small viable minimum product and getting the profits in and then using your profit to sustainably grow to the stage that you want.
[00:04:59] One of the tips the book gives is about teaching to build Authority, and this is how your clients trust you more and faster. What can you teach your clients? And it could be just how to understand your service better, because the more confident they feel with you, the more comfortable they are.
[00:05:16] And this brings me to the topic of trust. In that trust, they say there’s three things in this book that it comes to.
[00:05:24] One, “I believe what you say”, which is Confidence.
[00:05:28] Two, “I believe you have the skills to do what you say” which is Competence.
[00:05:33] And Three, “I believe you’re acting on my behalf”, which is Benevolence.
[00:05:39] Once you’ve built trust with your clients. These are the people that you want to have to be repeat. So focusing on marketing to your current clients or customers, is much more effective than trying to get a new customer or client.
[00:05:52] And the last point on the book that I’d like to share is about Work Life Balance. Often we think about these two things that are on almost like a child Seesaw. One is up and one is down. The idea of being a Company of One that requires you to build your work around your life, not the other way around. And I think this is the philosophy that a lot of people are drawn to.
[00:06:16] There is a practical tool that the book talks about, which is in relation to a Productivity Audit. Have a look and track “what are you working on?” “How long does it take?” and creating a “stop doing list”. There were a couple of other tactical points, but most of the book was about the philosophy of a small business or a Company Of One, less so about the “how to”.
[00:06:39] I would recommend the book. If you are thinking of starting your own business or you have a business already, and you’re not sure if you want to grow or not. The ideas behind it, I think will be useful for you.
[00:06:51] If you’re looking for a tactical, how to strategy to grow your company of one, a small business. Then this is probably not the book for you. If you’d like to get my summary. So you don’t have to read your book yourself. You can jump in the show notes and click the link and grab it for free. Each month, I read a book and do a visual summary. And if you’re on the email list for Zenith Journey, you will get a copy of this straight to your inbox. So by signing up to get today’s Company Of One visual summary, you will be getting it next month as well.
[00:07:26] If you found this podcast useful, I would love it if you could jump on and leave a review. Your reviews helped me to know what you love about the podcast and also help other people to see what’s going to be useful for them in it.
[00:07:39] Thanks for listening.
Sign up to get insider access to exclusive content & offers, plus a regular dose of positive leadership tips & advice.
Pause the overwhelm and learn exactly what you need to know before hiring your first (or next) team member, whether they are full-time, casual or a contractor. A free on-demand 60 minute mini-course with interactive guidebook designed specifically for small business owners and solopreneurs.