Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business

Paul Jarvis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-328-97235-4
Entrepreneurs feeling abashed that their businesses haven’t grown to the Fortune 500 level should relax—sometimes slow or no growth is the right approach, argues consultant Jarvis in this persuasive manual. A “company of one” is a business that “questions growth,” the business world’s default strategy; while pursuing growth may be the most intuitive decision to make, Jarvis observes that it’s not always the best one. Aggressive growth means an increase in operating costs, organizational complexity, and responsibilities for management, which doesn’t suit everyone. Staying small, meanwhile, doesn’t have to be the prelude to something bigger, but can be the whole strategy. Using case studies and (refreshingly briefly) his own story—of working as a website designer, first for an agency and then for himself—Jarvis walks readers through the steps of cultivating a company that intentionally doesn’t grow: determining what motivates one beyond generating a profit; building a “scalable,” or appropriately sized, infrastructure; starting and developing the company at a workable pace; and satisfying customers all the while. Though somewhat light, Jarvis’s soothing guide is a good reminder that chasing the million-customer mark is not the right choice for every entrepreneur. Agent: Lucinda Blumenfeld, Lucinda Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/05/2018
Release date: 01/15/2019
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