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Productivity / Growth

Business downsizing: When receding beats growth

A couple of days ago an email dropped into my inbox from an old client who’d just undone years of expansion. Was he happy to be solo again? You bet!

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Here’s what he said:

“Having spent a number of years employing and running a small office, I’ve become a soloist again. It was a bit of a gut wrenching experience, but now I am back at home.

Why did I decide to do this? Well, a couple of key clients changed direction and a staff member nicked another (don’t ask). We were not in debt, but I could see things weren’t going to carry on as they had and this year’s jobs list was looking pretty awful. But more importantly, I think I had had enough.

Enough of employing people and dealing with incompetency. Enough of training people only for them to leave after 2 years. Enough of chasing jobs I didn’t want to do, but had to in order to pay the way. Enough of paying rent for spaces whose air conditioning doesn’t work properly. Enough of paying cleaners who think emptying a bin does the job. Enough of paying stupid amounts of tax just when you think you have made a little profit. Enough of paying increasing insurance costs that you know you’ll never have to claim. Enough of paying for a car park space.

I think I have seen the light. If you want a job done right, do it yourself. Decide what jobs you really want to do, and who you want to work for, and set your fees as high as you dare because your bloody worth it, because you know you’ll work day and night to get it done right.

"I think I have seen the light. If you want a job done right, do it yourself."

And best of all it’s the little things that make a huge difference. I’ll be able to drop-off and pick-up my children from school. I’ve never done that! My dog can keep my feet warm and I can choose what internet radio channel to listen to without staff quibbling.

Want more articles like this? Check out the growth section.

So, I’m back and I’m going to be better than ever. In the last two weeks of being on my own I have won three major projects with fees that cover my entire year’s earnings requirements, and they are good ones with great clients I like to work with, that don’t care where I work from. My biggest problem now is turning down work.”

Powerful stuff don’t you think? What are your thoughts on business downsizing? Share them below.

Robert Gerrish

is the founder of Flying Solo and helps soloists stay upbeat and energised. He’s recently published The 1-Minute Commute, is a presenter and facilitator and works one-on-one with those needing a refresh. Find out more about his skills and services and his Olympus Trip 35 camera side hustle or connect on LinkedIn.

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