Book – Company of One (Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business)
Author – Paul Jarvis
Genre – Self-Help
Book Published in – 2019
Real freedom is gained when you define upper bounds to your goals and figure out what your own personal sense of enough is.– Paul Jarvis
Whether running your own business, working as an independent salesperson, or freelancer, this book will help you see goals, settings, priorities, and how you operate from an amazingly different perspective.
We are constantly taught that growth equals success, profit, status, or fame. This trend is slowly but surely changing as more people question whether they want growth at any price.
About the Book –
Company of One goes in the opposite direction of big is better, growth over profitability, and focus on seeking new clients over retaining existing ones.
It’s assumed that hard work and intelligent thinking always result in business growth. But the opposite is often true: not all change is beneficial, and some increases can reduce your resilience and autonomy.
Staying small doesn’t have to be a stepping-stone to something else, or the result of a business failure rather, it can be an end goal or a smart long-term strategy.– Paul Jarvis
The book is divided into three parts: 1) Begin, 2) Define, and 3) Maintain. Here is the excerpt from each piece.
Part I – Begin
1) Defining the Company of One –
- Sometimes “enough” or even less is all we need since “more” too often equates to more stress, problems, and responsibilities in life and business.
- If you’re a company of one, your mindset is to build your business around your life, not the other way around.
2) Four Traits of the Company of One –
- Resilience – Resilience, contrary to popular belief, can be learned. Resilient people possess three learnable characteristics, i.e., An acceptance of reality, a Sense of purpose, and the ability to adapt when things change.
- Autonomy & Control – Achieving control over a company requires more than just using the core skill you are hired for. It also requires proficiency in sales, marketing, project management, and client retention.
- Speed -By being more competent at getting more work done faster when you work for yourself, you can create a more flexible schedule that fits your job into your life better.
- Simplicity – Your idea should be scaled down to the basics—do it now, do it cheaply, and do it quickly— and then iterate upon.
3) Staying Small as an End Game –
- For companies of one, the question is always, what can I do to improve my business? Instead, what can I do to grow my business larger?
- Putting growth over profit as a strategy, however trendy as business advice, is responsible for many big companies’ downfall.
4) Setting Upper Limits –
- Businesses and individuals often set minimum benchmarks. Paul suggests setting an upper limit to ensure you have enough capacity to cater to the growing demand in the long term.
5) Envy: The Ulcer of the Soul –
- Envy is one of the reasons most people want growth over anything else. We like to be accepted, acknowledged, and appreciated by others.
- When we give in to envious feelings, the best we can hope for is the second best since we’re focused on copying someone else’s path and not forging our own.
6) In the Beginning –
- People sometimes focus on the wrong things when starting a business, like office space, scaling, websites, business cards, and computers. Once revenue is coming in, you can add expenses or more significant ideas later.
- Starting a company requires that you embrace working on what’s achievable now, which usually means embracing less than your vision for your ideal future.
Part II – Define
1) Right Mindset –
- Follow your passion – This notion that we should get paid for our love is rarely true. One may be passionate about sports yet not necessarily he can become a competitive athlete.
- Paul gives a good example – Just being passionate about it doesn’t mean you can become the next Serena Williams, no matter how hard you try. “Follow your passion” is irresponsible business advice.
2) Company of One Must be Good At –
- As company growth should be questioned, so should a busy schedule. Perhaps we need to determine what “enough” is for our particular schedule and then ruthlessly stick to and defend that.
3) Personality Matters –
- The “authentic you” that traditional business has taught you to suppress under the guise of “professionalism” can be your most considerable edge over the competition when you’re a company of one.
4) Customer Happiness –
- As companies of one, we are very much in the people-serving business. Focus on excellent customer service, personal touch, pleasing existing and retaining them rather than going out of our way to onboard new clients.
- Satisfied customers are your best sales force. Focus on serving the existing client well, and you will save a lot of money, time, and effort on acquiring new clients.
5) Your Word is Your Contract –
- As a company, you must be very careful in what you tell your customers or potential customers because your word is your social contract with them.
- Anytime you don’t keep your word, you’re not just letting down one person or one business; you’re losing the opportunity to work with every contact of that person or company.
Part III – Maintain
1) Trust & Scalability –
- In studying how trust is built between companies and consumers, Studies have found that there are three aspects of faith: confidence (I believe what you say), competence (I think you have the skills to do what you say), and compassion (I think you’re acting on my behalf).
2) Relationship Matters –
- Cultivating long-term relationships and offering solutions to help those people is the best way. This may need not be restricted to only your products.
- Companies of one can be proud to be companies of one and can use their personality to stand out and focus on niche down to the specific groups of customers they want to serve.
I have also created a video of a few quotes from the book. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel for self-help book quotes- Myread4change –
I often mention that books help in asking the right question. As many times, questions matter more than answers. I want to close this summary with one passage summarizing the book well.
With companies of one, exponential profit increases aren’t a core objective because just hitting profitability is usually enough. From there, you have choices—to grow, to stay the same, to take more time off, to scale systems as well as the space to make those choices because your goal isn’t to make exponential profit, but simply to bring in profits greater than your expenses.
If you like this book, you may also like The 4-Hour Workweek.
I hope this summary helped you in some way.