Somewhere along the way in the last couple of decades “scale” has become seen as essential for anyone in business. some sort of accolade. We have “scale up” coaches, books and countless examples of people who have scaled their business and sold it for a fortune.
There are however, very few of them in reality. If we measured businesses that achieve scale as a percentage of those who aspired to it, it would be a very small number. By definition, only so many businesses can scale – there’s not room for many in finite markets, and everything we know about market share dominance tells us it’s great for number one, break even for number two, and increasingly horrible for number three and below.
What if we aspired to good work instead? Something that makes a big difference to a few people, rather than a marginal difference to many. One whose whose ingredients for success – relationships, soul, community – will not scale directly, but whose influence will as those impacted influence their own small communities in turn. What if we ended up with a pearl necklace, where each pearl was a vibrant small network making big differences in a few lives?
There will always be businesses that scale, just not many. If we set ourselves scale as an ambition, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, but if we set ourselves up to make a difference, we can do that, and smile.
In 2021 and this next decade, we need more artisans. People dedicated to craft, the creation of beautiful ideas and products that make a difference , and have the difference spread. Not “Botox” brands plumped up with PR and celebrity, but genuine contributions to living better lives on a healthier planet.
Only a few Artisans will become famous, but many will enjoy their time here and they will make a difference that matters.