For the first Found & Flourish book club we chose Company of One by Paul Jarvis.
The subtitle says it all really: Why staying small is the next big thing for business. The focus of this book is very much about getting better rather than bigger and remaining small to allow yourself the freedom to pursue the lifestyle you want.
Our key takeaways included:
- You can be far more agile as a company of one, with the freedom to pivot according to circumstances. This has never been more relevant than during the current situation.
- Building and fostering excellent customer relationships is key to success. It is cheaper to retain customers than find new ones – the focus should always be on your existing client base. If you personalise your customer experience within your business, those happy clients will then end up doing your marketing for you.
- Niching is crucial: identify your specialism and, if you have to, start selling to just one person and build your audience from there. When you concentrate on a smaller area, it becomes easier to avoid the urge for growth just for the sake of it.
- You don’t have to do everything. Approach all decisions from the perspective of your company values and choose what you actually want to do. As Jarvis writes: ‘Opportunities are just obligations wearing an appealing mask. There might be a positive outcome of seizing them, but they always come at a cost – in terms of time, attention, or resources.’
- Automation and systems will buy you back the one resource which is truly finite for your business – time. Simplify your processes and this will allow you to then spend more time refining your product or service and improving your customer experience. (It’s worth noting that Jarvis recommends automation retain as much personalised customer engagement as possible.)
- Test or build your offering around your customers. Rather than trying to make everything perfect before launch, get a first version out there and then work with your audience to tailor your product to the needs of those who will actually be buying it – never forget to ask your community what they need. We particularly liked the line: ‘If you aren’t embarrassed by your first version, you launched it too late.’
Overall we agreed that Company of One was a little repetitive but a useful reminder of why we’ve all chosen to develop our own companies of one. Lara summed it up really nicely as an ‘uplifting, empowering book that gives you permission to go straight back to the basics of your values and what’s really important to you and focus on that as the basis of your business.’
Decide what success looks like for you. Use systems, agility and a focus on your customers to build a sustainable model to the level that you’ve identified as your enough.
(7 has been banned as a non-committal rating!)
Everyone agreed that it was lovely to be able to read a book and call it work, will you be joining us next month when we’re talking about More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth?
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