Building a company is kind of like getting drunk. All night long, you’re either getting more or less drunk. Maintaining an even buzz is very hard and requires a lot of practice and familiarization with the tools. Running a consultancy is much the same way--you’re either growing (too much work/ hiring more people), or you’re shrinking (“how the hell am I going to make payroll?”) You’re always moving in one direction or another; You’re always changing.
Getting drunk carries much of the same motivation as building a company. You’re building this company for a reason. You could have stayed at your old job, but you didn’t. This shows that you already have poor decision- making skills and an abnormal inclination to take the kind of risks that scare most people into staying in bed with the sheets safely tucked over their heads. So far so good. This choice to start your own company probably boils down to the fact that you want less stress, more fun and more freedom (the same reasons you might have for getting drunk; however, unlike getting drunk, this was probably a healthy choice and is something you can do daily).
If you haven’t started your own business yet, we hope this book will give you enough hope, encouragement and confidence to take that leap and join the rest of us. It’s a great party.
During the life of your company, you will make all kinds of decisions (many will be wrong). Who you are will affect all of these decisions-shaping and moving your company along its path. Your decisions will give your company a personality. Most people try to give their company a very professional appearance. This is a reasonable choice (having taken the giant leap of actually going out on your own). Most people are so afraid of failure that they don’t take leaps anymore. They look around and think, “Well, this is how other companies do it, so I guess we’ll copy them”--not realizing they’ve just blended themselves into looking just like their competition. They want to shrink back into the abyss of anonymity and hide behind their company. That’s fine. That leaves plenty of room for those of us who haven’t reached our threshold of fear; the fear that makes us stop taking risks.
Your personality will shape your company by the choices you make and the risks you take (or are too afraid to take). You’ll learn exactly who you are (as will your clients, employees and customers). Knowing how to pick clients and projects that fit you and your company will create a less stressful and happier job for yourself. It’s always better to find what fits, rather than try to force yourself into something.
Picture the type of company you want to lead. How many people are involved? Just you? How about fifteen people? How about a hundred? Do you imagine yourself working in an office?
The size of the company you envision will also determine the types of clients you’ll need to attract. The larger you grow your company, the larger the clients you’ll need to seek out. Your team might need managers, project overseers, a billing department, etc.
Six years ago, Allan and Steve envisioned a company that had a center office that they would work from periodically, but now they see more value in working from home. Seeing their children grow up is more important to them than being forced to go to an office every day.
LessEverything is run pretty lean. There is little wasted money. Allan and Steve do travel to conferences and spend money buying dinners and having fun, but those are things that spur creativity and grow the company’s circle of friends. LessEverything hopes to build a company of friends that vacations together, laughs all day and works hard to create things that people love and talk about.
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