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Controlling Growth3:57 with Paul Boag
While growth is a common business goal, you must be careful not to grow beyond your means or desired scope. Staying small offers helpful advantages you might not have considered.
So if all goes well you're going to find yourself pretty busy pretty soon, 0:00 and that's an exciting problem to have, 0:04 but also controlling your growth is something you really need to pay attention to. 0:07 As things go along, and you bring in new work, and you get a reputation, 0:12 it's very easy to get into a situation where you start recruiting more and more people. 0:17 It's probably a little premature for many of you to be thinking about this now, 0:23 but just bear it in mind when you come to that day. 0:28 Only recruit as a last resort. 0:33 Staying small has a lot of benefits to it. 0:36 Don't long after having a big company with lots of employees. 0:39 Whey you stay small you've got less mouths to feed, 0:44 and that means you got more control over your business 0:47 and what work you do. 0:49 You can pick and choose clients rather than having to take anything 0:51 that comes through the door just to keep people busy. 0:54 Also when you stay small, you have that ability to pick and choose, 0:58 and that's such an important thing in terms of the quality of life 1:02 and enjoying the work you do. 1:07 The last thing you want to be doing is working on projects 1:10 you don't find particularly engaging. 1:12 It's hard to do that mind. 1:15 Turning away work feels so difficult, 1:17 but you need to be strong. 1:21 Turn away projects that don't fit you, don't fit the kind of stuff that you want to do, 1:23 and set realistic deadlines. 1:28 Don't agree to do projects that are going to mean you are so overstretched 1:30 that you have to take on employees. 1:34 If you find it hard to turn away work or have more work than you can handle, 1:37 I suggest trying to raise your prices. 1:43 That's a great way of reducing the amount of work you get coming in. 1:46 What a weird problem to be talking about. 1:50 The fact that you want to reduce the amount of work. 1:52 But the time should come, and increasing your prices is a good way to do that. 1:55 Obviously you do that sensibly and over a period of time. 2:00 You don't suddenly whack them up, 2:03 although I know of one web designer, a guy called Andy Clarke, 2:05 who doubles his prices on Fridays just to see what will happen. 2:09 I think that may be a little bit of an ambitious thing to try 2:13 but give it a go. 2:17 Try incrementally increasing your pricing over a period of time 2:19 and see whether that controls the number of projects you get coming in. 2:23 Be careful of contracting out work. 2:28 As I've already said, it has a lot of disadvantages to it. 2:31 You really only need to do that as an absolute last resort. 2:35 Also the bigger that you get as a company, 2:39 the more personnel problems you're going to have to deal with. 2:42 Sometimes you can feel like you're more of a manager 2:45 than you are a web designer anymore. 2:48 Know when you've got too big. You'll be able to sense it. 2:50 You'll see your stress levels increasing, 2:55 and if you reach that point you need to know that it's time to shrink. 2:58 It's interesting, just as I'm recording this now we're actually going through a process 3:03 of reducing our headcount down. 3:08 We were as big as 20 people at one point, 3:10 and we're now down to 13. 3:13 To be honest, I think we'll get even smaller. 3:15 Remember you don't get rewards for having lots of employees. 3:18 Having lots of employees does not make you a successful web design agency. 3:22 It's about having an enjoyable job that you love to do, 3:26 and if having too many employees creates a problem with that 3:30 then maybe it's time to reduce them. 3:34 But that doesn't mean that you have to fire people. 3:36 I'm not a great fan of that. I hate making people redundant. 3:38 You will find that people naturally move on over time and just allow that to happen. 3:41 So control your growth. Be the size you want to be. 3:48 Don't allow your company to take on a life of its own 3:51 while you're just running to keep up. 3:54
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