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What makes your business small

What Makes Your Business "Small?"

You are only as big as your ideas and your mindset, and many have allowed themselves to pigeon hole their thinking to the title they have grown to accept. Small.

What factors must be in place to be considered a small business? Is it number of employees? Or total number of clients? Is it the amount of money on your balance sheet or how well known your business is in the market? Could it be the size and location of your office?

What differentiates “small” business from “big” business?

Are there a different set of skills required? After all clients are still clients, projects are still projects, money is still money and finished project is still complete.

In looking to advance my education I found myself looking at a few courses in business management and many of them had “small” at the start of the title.

It begs the question, then, just what is small business management and is it any different to big business management? Should owners of small businesses never seek to make their businesses big just to retain a label or fit a certain bracket? Should we not aspire?

Personally I hate the label small. In freelancing with a few agencies in Barbados I’ve noticed that their total number of employees is small but their reach is far and wide.

One had 9 full-time and 2 part-time employees. That’s less than the designated 25 by more than half but yet it is the size most agencies are in Barbados. Many are smaller. Where does big end and small begin?

For me, it is in the mindset. If you think small, you are small. On the other hand, small can have its advantages.

Understandably, there are certain challenges that business under a certain size will face when it comes to access to funding and opportunities, and there are certain entities established to facilitate growth among these types of businesses. Alternately, there is a certain nimbleness than can derive from being ‘small.’

But being defined as small poses a grave danger. You are only as big as your ideas and your mindset, and many have allowed themselves to pigeon hole their thinking to the title they have grown to accept. Small.

Suddenly big business is confined to those of a certain class or pedigree and the average John Brown only stands a chance at a transient pocket-lining one-door enterprise.

It invades our thinking; it invaded mine. But we as business owners—as entrepreneurs—need to think BIG. Derrick Foster from Automotive Art started with himself and one partner and now has a wildly successful business in automotive paint, finishes and accessories.

Not only do we need to THINK big. We also need to ACT big. Support our own instead of pulling them down. Aid in the success of others and patronise local business. Don’t trying to beat each other down on price but price fairly as well. Don’t under cut the “competitor” but find ways of working together, creating synergies, learning from each other and enjoying the playful competitive attitude that leads to positive business growth rather than time wasting duplication and cut throat business killing practices.

So what do we say entrepreneurs?

Do we put off small-minded ways for something much greater or do we drown in the depth of myopia?