I know you must’ve been to dozens of seminars about thinking big, being a mega-oligarch, growing a business empire, IPO, internationalization, globalization, Fortune 500, Forbes Billionaires- and you’re now dreaming of sitting back in your Rolls or Maybach, taking phone calls conforming your billions of dividends, on your way to your yacht somewhere in the Riviera.
If the scenario above fits your dream, then you’re one of those suckers I’m about to address in my KISS principle:
Keep It Small Suckers!
You see, once your company has an employee base the size of a decent republic, and your offices are scattered across different continents, and your ticker symbol is on the main board, and a whole crap of people who are not related to you in any way are being appointed in the Board of Directors, the stakes will be too high for you.
You have to stay in control with less power, while continuously watching your back trying to achieve the impossible, all at the expense of yourself.
You have to stay in control…
With so many assets at stake, so many decisions to make, so few people to trust, this is where you’ll try to hold onto as much power as you can. You’ll try to be involved in every decision making process, try to be informed of every internal and external changes.
So many inputs to digest and so many multi-million decisions pending, your personal life will be relegated to the fringes- so is your family, your vacation, your health and your retirement.
With less power..
This is the state where you have to let go your control bit by bit and surrender them to the democratic power of the stakeholders- your employees, capitalists, governmental agencies, the public and other watchdogs.
This is the state where anarchy will oust you from power in 24 hours. This is where you actually letting go your company to someone else.
While watching your back…
With your revenue size comparable to the GDP of a developing country, you’ll be under the scrutiny of the corporate United Nations. Every decision you make will be analyzed by those securities commissions and the watchdogs to ensure you’re not hiding behind the corporate veil for your personal gain.
But with so many decisions to make through different corridors of powers, the chances of you screwing up would be big, so big you have to hire a whole law firm to bail you out.
And strive for the impossible…
With so many people to please, you’ll be skating on a thin ice. A small discontent would snowball into an anarchy. A displeased little napoleon would result to an economic blockade.
This is where you have to be as diplomatic as possible, sometimes with the help of a trick called ‘bribery’ just to keep every plan in motion smoothly and keep the stakeholders calm.
At the expense of yourself….
With your key divisional figureheads working in different time zones, this is where you have to literally stay awake at all time to communicate with them. And because there’s always something to communicate every nano-second in a mega corporation, you’ll have no rest until you Rest In Peace.
Starting a company small is good. But growing it to be super big, hoping to sit back, retire early, enjoying your pay-check.. all while being the de-facto owner…. it’s too much of a dream. Because the stakes would be too high for you to play around.
So if you’re still thinking about growing a Fortune 500 company, this is how your dream should be: You’re standing in front of your Board of Directors, taking fire questioning your huge salary, on your way to the hospital for a bypass surgery. And all in your head, at that time, is: “will they remove me from office while I lie unconscious on the operating table?” And the only response to your question would be:
“I don’t care…as long I’m not behind bars”.