Title: The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living
Author: Sharon Rowe
Year: Published: 08/05/2018
Length: 160 pages
Genre: Business, Self-Help, Nonfiction
Get a copy: 1) Search in local bookstores to support small business; 2) Amazon.
Short Description: If you ever wanted to start your own business but you were feeling confused and amazed by the amount of work that had to be done for creating something, then you should definitely read The Magic of Tiny Business. Sharon Rowe shares her story about how she started her own tiny business. She gives us valuable how-to information that will allow us to make our dream of becoming business owners a reality.
Sharon Rowe is the founder of Eco-Bags Product. A company with a clear mission, to “clean up the planet one bag at a time.” Like any mother, she wants to put the family first and that’s why she tries to find the best job that will keep her close to her kids while earning enough money to support them. After a lot of thoughts and too little preparation, she decides that the best course of action will be to start her own company.
The Magic of Tiny Business is a book about building and maintaining a small business that is laser-focused on keeping things simple and efficient. Sharon Rowe shares what it takes, the struggle, the amount of work, the process of creating a tiny business from scratch. The main idea that the author is helping us understand is that you don’t necessarily have to build a big business in order to be happy and feel successful. A lot of times the most valuable things are in tiny packages.
While the world is trying to convince you that you have to build an empire and hire thousands of people to be, and to truly feel, successful, Sharon Rowe is taking us into the opposite direction: how to start a small business and keep it from becoming overwhelming and hard to handle burden that will consume your life and time.
I had the pleasure of reading the book well before it was printed and available to the world. Besides offering insightful information about how to start your own company, The Magic of Tiny Business by Sharon Rowe will inspire and support you throughout the whole process. I learned that being successful doesn’t necessarily means building or renting a huge office with thousands of employees. As longs as you’re making enough money to have a good life and you’re doing something positive to the world, you’re successful.
It’s quite amazing to read about how Sharon started her own company; To learn from her mistakes and to see what decisions helped her become the leader in the reusable eco bags market. Even though her focus is towards keeping a tiny business, that doesn’t mean that her income is tiny as well. Not at all. Eco Bags makes two million dollars annually on average and that profit is increasing every year. The small team and the laser focus towards their goal are keeping everybody busy with the right thing to do and disregarding everything else.
Another thing that really impressed me was Sharon’s mission: “to save the world one bag at a time.” We’re savage consumers and we neglect our planet which will eventually come back to us. Sharon’s tiny business is helping us reduce the pollution in a very simple way. This kind of products deserves our attention.
I will definitely recommend the book to everyone who is thinking about starting a business. Sharon Rowe will convince you that everyone can make his dream a reality if he, or she, is willing to work hard enough.
Notes, thoughts, and essential takeaways that I want to remember from the book. My main goal is to leave you with curated content, to which you can easily return to in the future for reference, that’s also holding the main insights of the book without spoiling what the book is all about:
Keep Laser Focus
The secret ingredient behind building and maintaining a tiny business is keeping laser focus towards your primary goal and pushing everything else to the side. This is good for a couple of reasons:
- You stay true to your values.
- You don’t waste time by trying to implement more products into your portfolio.
- You don’t waste money for the above-mentioned reason.
- You keep your company small and flexible.
- Small companies are easier to manage.
When companies develop they naturally get bigger. Financially, a company exists to grow and increase its market share. This means more people, more salaries, bigger office, and an increase of the overall costs for the company. Even though this is good for the business, it’s quite overwhelming for the founder and for the person running the company. You no longer manage 10 or 15 people, you will be in control of 100, 1000 people, probably. All these people need observation and some kind of supervision, which will keep you away from the important things.
A lot of times keeping your joint small and flexible is preferable than managing an army of employees and stock for thousands of different units. You will have less things on your plate and you will be in control of everything within your company.
The first step towards focusing your efforts towards the important things is to learn when to say no. Say no to everything that doesn’t add value to your business and to your life in general. A tiny business can only be successful if it’s strictly following the predefined priorities and rejecting everything else.
Don’t consume it, use it
Pay yourself first is advice you mustn’t neglect when you run a company. You need money to put something on your table and room to breathe. However, the profit of the company and the amount you pay yourself are two different things. The first is something that should be divided between several different pots:
If by profit you understand cash for new toys and gadgets, it won’t be soon till you’re out of the picture and again on the market searching for a 9 to five job. A lot of business owners get too caught up by their initial success and forget that they have a business to run which requires a constant investment of time and money.
A good part of your profit should be set aside for investments, market observations, research activities. People even open their own labs so they can test new prototypes and potentially upgrade their product into something that more people will want. The more you invest, the better your product will get, which should potentially lead to more and happier clients.
So, don’t consume all of your profit for things that won’t make a difference in the long run. Use your resources for things that will make your product better and help you reach a wider audience.
Protect your Brand Legally
Defending your brand will take a lot of resources but it will save it from people who want to do you harm. Here are a couple of advices mentioned in the book that can guide you:
- Get everything in writing.
- Register your brand name in multiple permutations.
- Register a domain name for your brand.
- A good advice will be to register a couple of additional domain names with different extensions. For example: brand.com; brand.org; brand.net. Or, register different spellings of your name. For instance, get colour.com and color.com and link the two together.
- Work with intellectual property lawyer to have everything straight.
- Have a strong brand “cease and desist” letter on hand and use when needed.
These days is becoming harder to keep people from copying your products and even making sales from your back. Basically, everyone with an internet connection and bad intentions can create a duplicate site that matches yours or manufacture similar to your products. Of course, at these moments you can put you lawyer into play.
Another recommendation will be to register your brand into all famous social media platforms. It’s something really simple but it can be often forgotten from the pile of things to do when you’re starting.
“Steal” from Others
Since we’re talking about starting a small business we most probably won’t be able to afford expensive marketing campaigns, staff with years of experience in the field, or a creative director. Even if we can, we shouldn’t pour our initial capital into these things. At that time, we’ll have better things to worry about and other things we must buy. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t be creative.
By saying “stealing” from others, we don’t mean robbing them. You can simply observe what others are doing and you can take notes. Picasso said it once: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” What he meant was that the average person will try to copy exactly the same product, with the same features and will hope he will become rich by doing so. On the other hand, the great artist will observe what others have made, steal their ideas, produce a much better product with better features and become a legend. That’s what Steve Jobs did and many others.
If you can’t think of a good Facebook marketing campaign, don’t worry. Other people did it for you. See with what type of messages the other companies are bombarding you and adjust the text to fit your company and your brand. You can apply the same technique in every aspect of your business: Check other people websites; See what type of content others are publishing; Order a product from your competitors and see what you can get out as an idea; Call their support line and see how they respond and what their doing wrong so you can deliver a better product.
There is a theory that everything has been already created and we’re simply producing copies of the same products with little adjustments. I can’t agree with that speculation but there is something much better you can take away from this: you can read, watch, speak with other people, gather insightful information and implement it in your product.
Know Exactly What You Want
I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was 25 years old, that’s why I worked jobs with zero potential and minimum wage.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll
That’s the hard truth and the and the most important insight from the book. When you know what you want from life, you will know exactly what’s unimportant. What’s junk. What you can throw away.
A business, of any kind, requires a lot of discipline. You need to regularly remind yourself what’s important both personally and professionally. You need to set a schedule, stick to it, and get the work done. Your business shouldn’t be only business, though, if you want to be truly happy. It should be something you care about, something you’re passionate, a part of your life, something that you can easily explain to others. Otherwise, you will suffer. The word you do will feel like a burden. If you create a product around something you’re not fully committed to, you will sooner or later bailout from it and the costs might be higher than when you started. On one hand, you need the money, but on the other, you hate the job. Basically, you will be a prisoner of your own desires.
Take some time to decide what you want to do and put all of your efforts towards this decision. Disregard everything else from the path to make room for the essentials.
When you take the time to get very clear on what you want, choose a direction, and remove all obstacles, you will find yourself moving with a greater sense of ease and freedom, creating a kind of magic.” Sharon Rowe
Get A Copy:
- Local Bookstore: Search in a near, local bookstore to support small business.