Company of One Review

Why I picked up this book

The title of this book immediately caught my eye while browsing through the local Library app.

More specifically, the subtitle stirred up curiosity: why staying small is the next big thing for business

As a solo-preneur, I think about the idea of growth a lot. Do I want to hire? Do I want to grow? Who should I hire? How should I grow? Growth Hacking, coined by Sean Ellis, is a topic that’s on fire in entrepreneurial circles. Everything I read in the news about IPOs and startups tells me that I need to grow. That I need to hire more employees. That I need to do more and be more. 

Needless to say, I’m thankful that I picked up this book by Paul Jarvis.

The core thesis of the book is to define what your goals are, what “enough” means to you, and always question growth when it comes to the steps you must take to reach your goal. It’s pushed me to redefine the notion of a business and what success means to me. Reading through it, I found myself aggressively highlighting passages on my Kindle and flipping back again and again to certain quotes. 

Early on when I started Crush Crowdfunding, I thought I needed to hire and grow. I was even proudly boasting when I hired freelancers and outsourced part of my work. However, I quickly learned that other people weren’t able to communicate my ethos, my brand, and the right content to help founders succeed with their crowdfunding campaign. 

In my line of work, I am truly blessed to be working directly with entrepreneurs and their dreams. A few months in, I realized that I was squandering this relationship with entrepreneurs away by outsourcing a lot of the touchpoints to outside freelancers. It didn’t feel right and it wasn’t right. I decided right then to downsize and re-strategize (that’s when I found MeetEdgar).  Fast forward a few months and it’s truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m more in tune with what my potential customers are saying, what their needs are, who I need to serve and how to best serve them. 

It’s always easy to throw some money at something, hire someone new (aka grow), and try to make your problems go away in that way. However, growth is not always the answer. If your goal is to start a company for you and growth isn’t your end-goal, then I’d highly recommend to pick up this book. 

Top 3 things I learned

1. Growth does not have to be the goal.

It’s difficult to escape in the idea of growth as a determining factor of success. Be true to what you want out of your business and how you want to live your life. Think long and hard about the concept of “enough”. Are you here because you want to work 80 hour days? Or are you here because you want to serve people and build a business that lets you live a fulfilling life?

Quotes to ponder:

“But under this hype, this fetishization of wanting more, are empty promises of happiness and fulfillment that never seem to come to fruition. Sometimes “enough” or even less is all we need, since “more” too often equates to more stress, more problems, and more responsibilities in both life and business.”

“A true “need to have” is whatever will make your idea fall apart if you don’t have it.”

2. Serve your customers and serve them well.

To succeed, you should always keep your customers at the core of everything that you do. There’s really no downside to serving your customers better than anyone else in the market. By serving them well, you’re setting yourself up for long-term loyalty and building a strong group of advocates for your brand and business. 

Quotes to ponder:

“After all, doing business boils down to serving others in a mutually beneficial way. Customers give you money, gratitude, and a shared passion, and you address their problems by applying your unique skills and knowledge to what you sell them.”

“Kate Leggett of Forrester Research found that keeping customers happy and helping them succeed reduce churn, increase the likelihood of repeat business, and even help in winning new business. In other words, when your customers win, you do too.”

3. There’s never a downside to educating your customer.

Education is the new marketing. There’s really no way a person just starting out will ever compete with other big businesses – you just don’t have the resources. However, by sharing and educating your audience, they’ll trust that you have the answers and will help them in a way that the competition, however big, cannot. Ergo, the main way to stand out from the crowd is to overshare. By educating and oversharing, you’re developing authority around your brand, building expertise around your domain, and fostering trust with your customers. 

Quotes to ponder:

“Customer education—providing an audience with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to become an informed buyer—is one of the most important parts of a sales cycle. Too often we’re so close to what we’re selling that we assume others are also experts on it, or know what we know, but  most of the time that’s not the case.”

“Glen Urban’s research has consistently found that trust highly correlates to a person’s propensity to consider, try, or buy a product.”

Key takeaway

Keep your goals in mind, treat your customers right and remember to build your business around your life, not the other way around.

How this book applies to your crowdfunding journey

Before you begin your journey to launch a project on crowdfunding (heck, even if you’ve reached your goal and thinking about what’s next), I urge you to take a step back and define your goals. It’s one of the first questions I ask on any discovery call and the absolute first lesson in the Crowdfunding Crash Course. It’s incredibly important to define your goals so that you have your “why” as the North Star to filter any business decisions.

This intricately relates to the who for your business. Think about your project, who are you building this for? Know your customers, serve them well, overshare what you know, and build trust. 

One more quote for you to ponder today:

“We don’t need an attitude of world domination and crushing it in our work in order to make a great living or even have a substantial impact. Our work can start and finish small while still being useful.”