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Wellbeing / Working alone

Small is the new big

Whenever I’ve seen soloists tout their business in an overly corporate style, it’s made me want to weep. But never more so than now. Here’s why.

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Over the years, I’ve seen countless soloists use smoke and mirrors to appear bigger than they are, a la the Wizard of Oz. ‘About’ pages without photos and frequent use of “we” instead of “I” in written language are prime examples of this kind of behaviour.

Historically I’ve found this disappointing, but also very understandable. The concern that soloists and micro businesses aren’t taken seriously has, perhaps, been justified and there’s no doubt it serves us well to big it up from time to time.

But lately, the tide has turned. I’m now convinced solo and micro businesses with a size complex are in danger of repelling customers. Why? Because small really is the new big.

Ironically, the place to find evidence of this is within corporate culture.

Look at the big banks’ current advertising campaigns. They all seem to be trying their gosh darndest to convince customers that they are small, cuddly and oh so approachable. You’ll see handwriting style fonts, wide usage of lower case and beaming friend-next-door imagery. There’s that neat little line “small enough to care” and on one site I’m sure there was a rainbow in the background! Oh, for heaven’s sake!

"Soloists brave enough to stick out their chin and celebrate their oneness can reap big rewards."

All that aside, the big end of town clearly would not go to these lengths if there wasn’t something captivating in the power of small.

Want more articles like this? Check out the working alone section.

In these insecure times, trust and integrity are undoubtedly the order of the day. Soloists personify these traits and more. We are transparent, accountable, sustainable, flexible and above all human.

We are all the rage.

In fact my observation is the climate has never been more hospitable to soloists. Now more than ever, people want to do business with people. Soloists brave enough to stick out their chin and celebrate their oneness can reap big rewards.

Why pretend to have associates? You are credible enough without them. What the world needs today are not bigger boats. Just smaller sharks.

So, *stepping down from Soapbox* might you make the move from we to I? Show your face on your About page? Or perhaps you plan to stay put behind that thick curtain.

Share your thoughts below and please if you haven’t uploaded your mugshot yet, just do it, your community wants to see you!

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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