This time last year things were a little different.
Personally, I was looking forward to a family ski trip to Norway, and having discovered my passion for running, had lots of fun events booked throughout the year, including Ultra Marathons! I couldn't wait.
Work wise, it was all systems go. January is always motivating for us. We were offered a (very rare) large office at The Innovation Centre in Medway, where we have been based for a few years - and I didn't want to miss the opportunity. The team were working well together and I was ready for the challenge. It was a risk - the rent was double what I was paying, and I'd need to make the bigger space pay for itself - but I looked at the numbers and felt confident it was the right choice.
More, and bigger. That’s where we were headed.
Until a pandemic hit.
I'm 'just' a small business
I can remember (in my very early days of business) sitting in a seminar feeling like a failure because I was 'just a sole trader’ working from home. Everyone else was running a real business, and mine was less legitimate because it was just me, myself and I.
You see, along your journey, everyone talks about growing your business. Whether it’s articles, seminars, or even peers. The message tends to be the same - Get more staff. A bigger office. More clients. More money. More...more... more....and bigger.
Which is great, if it’s your goal to grow. And if you’re feeling strong or supported professionally and personally. But your goal might not be more and bigger. Your goal might be to simply edge towards your ideal lifestyle - whatever that looks like to you. It might mean less and smaller! That sounds great too, doesn’t it?
The truth is, more staff and bigger offices can come with more pressure, more stress and more juggling.
In March last year, I sat in my lovely new large office and felt like I'd succeeded. Which is crazy. Other tenants congratulated me on the office move. It was a massive space, with desks down one end and a training area at the other.
And then Covid happened. No clients could visit, the staff started working from home, and I started to think that maybe I might have made a mistake.
Sometimes, especially at times like these, it's much more important to improve your business.
With mounting financial pressure and there being no end in sight, I made the tough decision to see if we could move back to a smaller office.
I dreaded talking to the team. They were going to be gutted. Or so I thought. It turns out they never really felt at home in that massive space - and they'd been wondering if we needed to downgrade too. But being utterly wonderful and supportive, they wanted to let me make my own mind up.
So we moved. Not into the same office we had vacated earlier in the year - but to an even smaller one. And I love it! We've never been closer as a team. Now it’s just the four of us - which is the way it's going to stay for the foreseeable. I've got a totally awesome little team who have my back 100% and care deeply about the business. We've got less pressure. More time. More systems. More giggles.
Improving and growing are not the same thing. What small improvements can you make to feel more secure? More happy? More fulfilled?
Ask yourself these questions, before you decide more and bigger are the answer. And remember to stop every once in a while and remember how far you’ve come.
The Total Team