If you are successful in business, you will at some point reach the stage where you will need to decide whether to expand or remain the way you are.
There is no right or wrong about which choice you make, but there are significant ramifications for both.
Let’s look at something we all have to do and most of us actually enjoy: EATING.
Even if you’re not a foodie, chances are you have heard of JAMIE OLIVER, the celebrity chef who owns about forty restaurants around the globe, counts Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt among his friends and has a net worth reported to be some $400 million.
He owns a 19-bedroom London house and a Grade II-listed 16th-century Jacobean mansion located in the Essex coast which has, naturally, a swimming pool and its own private boating lake.
He has been awarded an MBE, but has never won a Michelin Star, the culinary equivalent of an Oscar.
Like him or not, Oliver is a truly global brand and a desirable one too.
But, many would ask, is he a chef anymore? The answer is pretty straightforward: he is a chef, but he no longer cooks in his restaurants other than for TV shows. His role has changed and that has come with a different set of responsibilities.
He leads a life that is as much in the spotlight as a rock star, travels incessantly and constantly comes under attack from his detractors as having lost touch with the two things that have made him famous. Actually cooking in his restaurants and relating to his customers. He is frequently accused of losing sight of what he set out to do.
And with big success come big risks and potentially big losses.
Recently Oliver lost a cool $25 million with the closure of his JME biscuits and jams venture. He was then forced to close all but one of his Union Jack restaurants not long after opening the venture. Opening costs for a Jamie Oliver restaurant are $2.2 million each.
By contrast, the chefs who gave Oliver not only his first job, but the chance to do his own TV show were two people most non-foodies would never have heard of: Michelin Star winners, the late Rose Grey and Ruth Rogers, who founded London’s world famous River Café in 1987.
The restaurant has been a mecca for foodies for nearly thirty years and spawned a series of very successful cookbooks and television shows. They never wanted to open more restaurants and the original is still in exactly the same location in which it opened.
Yet, despite being rich, successful and now a baroness, at the age of 64, Rogers still enjoys being hands-on and is regularly seen in her restaurant’s kitchen ensuring the world-famous signature perfection is maintained.
So when you reach that stage where you have to decide whether to expand your business or not, it is a very good idea to think not only how big you want it to be, but what you want your role in it to be.
If you are happy to devolve responsibility to others then expansion is the way to go, but you will have to find good people you can trust, which is not always easy.
If you want to stay hands-on it simply won’t be possible to expand your business beyond a certain size. Micro managing on a grand scale is oxymoronic.
You will have to consider what will become of you and your business when you reach a point where you may want a change or age or health prevent you from continuing.
In either scenario, your business should work for you not be a millstone.
Do you want to stay lean and small or do you you plan to expand on a large scale? Tell us your story in the comments!