“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell”- Edward Abbey
In an earlier post, I shared my experience of working as a volunteer with The Hunger Project. This came at a time when I was going through a career transition. I had just sold my dental practice and was looking for some way to give back to society.
My experience with The Hunger Project opened my eyes to what the major issues were facing the planet. One of the resources that the organization recommended was the book, Small Is Beautiful by EF Schumacher, in which he points out the dangers of our economic model, where bigger and more are considered to be better.
This has influenced my thinking as an entrepreneur running different businesses for the last 40 years. It has especially had an impact in the conversations I have with my small business coaching clients, who are driven by being productive and getting the “goodies” in life. For the most part, the cost in working like this is to their soul!
Informed by the philosophy outlined in Small Is Beautiful, Jamie Walters, author of Big Vision, Small Business applies the principles of “small” as a way of doing business. She challenges a major assumption that quantitative growth “is the only path to satisfaction and success.”
“Big Vision, Small Business emphasizes that growth and success can and should be defined qualitatively, based on, among other things, a small enterprise owner’s vision, values, lifestyle goals, and the quality of his or her relationships and contributions within and beyond the walls of the business. Growth and success become more about the quality of the journey, the lessons learned and applied, and the positive contributions in service to others, rather than simple, raw dollar amount that means little unless you look beneath the surface.”
She outlines twelve priorities of big vision small businesses…
- Ensuring mutual benefit
- Creating “right livelihood”
- Fostering “right relationships”
- Giving back to the community
- Aspiring toward high ethical ground
- Creating a respectful environment
- Generating revenue as a means rather than the primary goal
- Fostering health and wellness
- Promoting awareness and personal responsibility
- Cultivating conscious business practices
- Setting high standards for quality
- Connecting business and spiritual practices
To get a sense of what I’m sharing, watch this TED talk presented by Chip Conley: “Measuring what makes life worthwhile”…
What’s your view on the notion that a big vision, small business model might be more appropriate for your business and life?
How important is it for you as a small business owner to integrate the 12 priorities outlined?
To what degree do you integrate them?