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Growth, but not at any price

If you've set up a small business, the messages targeted at you are all about growth. You read 'inspirational' stories of entrepreneurs who went from a standing start to a seven-figure business in two years (which personally I found intimidating rather than inspiring). 

It can seem sometimes as though seeking to grow is the inevitable, natural state of affairs, and if you're not doing it, or not doing it fast enough, you're failing. And I DO want to grow - am growing in fact, though not at seven figures yet, or likely to be any time soon. But that's OK, because actually there are more important things than the rate of growth. 

Which is why when I read this article by David Heinemeier Hansson - the genius behind Ruby on Rails and Basecamp, if you're technically inclined - I wanted to shake him warmly by the hand. He's put into words what I have been increasingly thinking but hadn't articulated to myself so well. Definitely worth a read.  

'the core assumption is that growth is always good, growth is always unlimited, and if you’re not growing you’re dying... Steady, sustainable growth just isn’t as sexy of a story as the next billion-dollar exit. Sadly. But it’s in this story we’re going to find the companies that are institutionally comfortable with leaving money on the table. Leaving growth on the table. Those offering realistic, ethical alternatives to the exponential growth logic. Ones that’ll benefit not just a gilded few, but all of us.' Read the rest... 

Growth is good, but not growth at any price. 

This entry was posted on 30 April 2017 at 19:57 and is filed under business coaching. You can leave a response here.

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2 responses to 'Growth, but not at any price'

Christopher says

Agree with the comments about Amazon. I suspect this is the traditional publishing industry trying to convince itself that all is well from their point of view and that the ebook on Amazon problem will go away one day. It is sad that most news outlets bought this rosy picture of traditional publishing and the 'decline' in ebook sales without checking their facts - it's lazy journalism and it suits the traditional publishing industry. I was in a Waterstones in a big city on the south coast recently and had a chat with an employee and was shocked at how little she knew about ebooks and Amazon and she has worked for Waterstones for years. If I was CEO of Waterstones I would be educating my staff about the main competition that may well put me out of business or cause some serious cutbacks in the next few years. Traditionally publishing does not have a long term future based on colouring books and picture books, and printed fiction will have to start creeping up in price to be sustainable. I love a printed book but I am saddened by the way traditional publishers treat their customers by charging huge prices for ebooks of their favourite authors, and by the way they pay so little to their authors, even for ebooks which have little overhead. I met a crime author who had published over a hundred novels traditionally and had to work full time to earn an income because only 1 book was currently in print. Imagine what that author could earn from ebooks with a bit of marketing. I read of an Irish author who has won international prizes for books who also had to go back to full time work because writing was not providing sufficient income. I can only see pain for traditional publishers in the future unless they wake up to the changing world.

Added on 03 May 2017 at 07:30

Alison Jones says

Thanks for this Christopher - I suspect you meant to post it under http://www.alisonjones.com/blog/2017/4/why-the-print-vs-ebook-story-is-a-bit-more-complicated-than-that-actually! Very few authors earn a living wage from their writing - which is why I like to work with people for whom a book is only part of the platform/business, not the whole point of it - but you're right that savvy authors who are prepared to become authorpreneurs and exploit the possibilities of digital publishing can create a very different model. Joanna Penn is a great example and champion of this: see http://www.thecreativepenn.com/ if you haven't already.

Added on 05 May 2017 at 18:58

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