Wellbeing / Business psychology

In celebration of small

The conventional business world is obsessed with big. The prevailing myth is that bigger is better – including the outward appearance of big. The dominant definition of success is that of big money.

13 August 2009 by

If we scratch beneath the surface of big, we find small. There is amazing transformative power in the Small. Small is all around us. Small is us being the individuals that we are. Small steps start the longest journeys. Small intimate relationships grow large spheres of influence. And small home offices become big corporations.

Small is the new big – and solopreneurs are at the forefront of small!

1. Small is personal, just as business is personal. It gives us the permission to tap into our individual passions, perspectives and insights, to be who we truly are and to bring our whole selves to our work.

2. Small empowers the individual. It fosters self-reliance and individual responsibility and reminds us of the role we play in, and the effects we have on, the larger picture. We can be the change we want to see.

"Small is the new big – and solopreneurs are at the forefront of small!"

3. Small is social. We are hardwired to work more effectively in small groups. Small groups are more easily interwoven with personal connections, and thus tend to be stronger and more cohesive. Small makes it is easier to manifest what we are increasingly clamouring for – connectedness and authenticity.

4. Small is human-scaled. Small enables relationships and emotional connections. It stops us from seeing people as numbers. Super-small niches are increasingly the norm. “Narrowcasting replaces broadcasting, mass customization replaces mass production, a network of shifting affiliations replaces the rigid owned-branch system. … The mega-corporation of the future is more likely to act as a collective of start-ups…” – Sam Vaknin, PhD on Market Fragmentation 

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5. Small tempers the ego. Runaway egos have nowhere to hide when the effects of personal actions are immediately apparent. Small enables even the smallest voices to be heard.

6. Small is actionable. An overwhelming grand plan can always be broken down into more doable, small steps. Small is about organic growth – the commencement of epic journeys one step at a time.

7. Small is agile.

8. Small is creative. Because committees inherently cannot be.

9. Small is Brand You, and with that comes options. Whether you are a solopreneur, a business owner, or an employee in a large corporation, you are always a brand onto yourself. The focus on Brand You gives you the flexibility to transition between being a solopreneur, a contractor or an employee. Perhaps even concurrently.

10. Small frees you from overwhelming to-do lists and seemingly unshoulderable burdens. Small allows you to focus care in the aspects of your business (and life) that matter to you. “If I could decide my fate, it would be to have a smaller company than the one I have today. I could take better care of it.” – Alberto Alessi, head of his family’s iconic design factory, in an interview with McKinsey, Feb 2009

11. Small is gratitude. It reminds us to stop and appreciate the really important things, which are often small.

12. Small is approachable. It democratises the practice of business and opens it to everyone who has the drive and the passion. The business ecosystem, and the world, desperately need unconventional business people to stir things up.

13. Small prepares you for big. Working small fosters inter-silo thinking and develops multi-skilled and creative people who can solve problems outside of their immediate specialisations.

It is crucial to emphasise that small does not mean thinking small. It is also not about myopically focusing on daily tasks at the expense of the big picture. In fact, to fully realise the benefits of small, you must think and see big: big dreams, big visions, big aspirations; and of course big abundance and big opportunities.

How do you celebrate small in your business?

Zern Liew

helps his clients build beautiful businesses by practically innovating across their Branding, Communications, Processes and Systems.

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