Friday, December 12, 2008

Stay Small or Grow Big?

I just met a very nice couple that owns a successful hardware store in Boston. We were talking about the benefits of staying small vs. the challenges of doing so. In this case, the couple runs their store themselves, occasionally relying on just one part-time employee.

The Benefits:
  1. They don't have to worry about employee relations and motivation, since they (the owners) are basically the employees
  2. They don't have to worry about employees stealing from them or not treating customers appropriately
  3. They are intimately involved in every aspect of the business, and can make immediate changes without having to worry about how to pass them on to the employees
The Drawbacks:
  1. If they go on vacation, they have to close the store. This means that their ability to take days off, take vacations, or even handle family emergencies, is seriously compromised
  2. They can only grow as far as their own skills and talents can take them
  3. Their revenue is limited to one store
This is a balance that I see frequently when working with owner-operators, and I think it's a tough choice to make ... maintain control or sacrifice control for growth.

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