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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 13 January 2020
  • Alex Penfield

What is the right size for your business?

Most small businesses are built in a similar way—as lean machines running on little manpower, few resources, and a lot of passion. But everywhere you turn these days, it seems one of these small start-ups has found overnight success, grown exponentially, and landed a larger-than-life IPO. Even if your small business vision is not as elaborate as taking over the world via a ride-sharing service, these blockbuster success stories beg the question, is expanding headcount and resources the only way to reach your entrepreneurial dreams?

In part one of our Rightsizing Series, we will explain the basics behind scaling your business and establishing your ideal size to thrive. If rightsizing is top of your to-do list in 2020—whether you are considering expanding or have more heads than you can count—these tips can help you determine at what size your business runs best.

  • Size matters — Expanding may equate to achievement for some, but for many small businesses, smaller is smarter. According to Jason Fried, co-founder of Basecamp, “right size,” means not hiring ahead of what is required but as needs arise. Determine what size your company operates at its most effective and work to maintain that number. When demand does spike, take a step back before scrambling to scale up—consider temporary options such as freelance to avoid extraneous headcount that can ultimately do more harm than good to your bottom line.

  • Value your core — While it is great to grow, it is important to remember where you started, and with whom. Your core team likely possesses the most passion and acumen for your business and is a loyal force you will need in times of flux. Focus your resources on those you value the most versus packing people on the payroll.

  • Increase efficiencies — Still working the old-fashioned way? Failure to adapt to business technologies can hurt productivity and make you feel as though you need more employees to handle the workload. Implementing tools such as Microsoft Teams or Slack Messenger can keep your team on task and up to date, helping your business run smart and stay small.

  • Take it outside — Limited resources can make it seem like everything is falling on your shoulders as a small business owner. Consider investing in outside partners to handle the more administrative aspects of your company, such as bookkeeping, to free up your time to focus on what you do best. The UPS Store has a variety of business services available to small business owners to help you easily outsource.

Now that we have established how to keep your company operating in its optimal range, our next installment will tackle what to do when business demand leaves you no choice but to expand. With solid strategies in place for growing at scale, keeping headcount in check, and maintaining a personal touch, you will be prepared to grow without the fear of becoming a big business behemoth.

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