Company of One: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Company of One containing key details about the book.

What is Company of One About?

Company of One offers a refreshingly original business strategy that’s focused on a commitment to being better instead of bigger. Why? Because staying small provides one with the freedom to pursue more meaningful pleasures in life―and avoid the headaches that come with the traditional growth-oriented business. Having personally discovered the benefits of cutting out the corporate hierarchy that constantly demands more, the author explains how you can do the same.

Who is the author of Company of One?

Paul Jarvis is a veteran of the online tech world, and over the years has had such corporate clients as Microsoft, Yahoo, Mercedes-Benz, Warner Music and even Shaquille O'Neal. He is the co-founder of Fathom Analytics.

How long is Company of One?

  • Print length: 272 pages

What genre is Company of One?

Business, Nonfiction, Entrepreneurship

What are some of the main takeaways and summary points of Company of One?

  • Takeaway 1: Bigger is not necessarily better. Small can be a long-term plan, not just a stepping-stone. It can be often wiser to find the right size and then focus on being better (instead of just growing bigger). As business owners, it's often wise to reflect: do we really want our business to be that big? Or would we rather be able to enjoy the independence of owning our own company without having to sacrifice our lifestyle?

  • Takeaway 2: In today's world, nothing is ever enough. There's always a need for more. From an evolutionary point of view, it makes sense why we wanted to gather more and more: with more food, more water, and more protection against predators, we may more likely to survive. But today, growth mostly feeds our ego and social standing. Yes, economies of scale can sometimes be required for success in certain markets and for some products, but often they aren’t required at all and it is ego, not a strong business strategy, that is forcing growth.

  • Takeaway 3: For "Companies of One', the question is always what can I do to make my business better?, instead of what can I do to grow my business larger? Sometimes finding and working with a single customer, then adding another, is a very solid way to begin. And sometimes that can even be the end goal—one where your focus is on the relationship and the paid work at hand. If further growth would entail making unacceptable sacrifices, then that’s a good sign that your "Company of One" may have reached its growth limit.

  • Takeaway 4: Learn to pay attention to your existing customers instead of just chasing potential customers. Reflect on whether you could make your business better instead of just making it bigger. And whether your business really needs scale to succeed - Where the upper bound to that scale might be, the place where profit and enjoyment have diminishing returns

  • Takeaway 5: When we gain power through leadership, we subsequently lose some of the qualities we needed to gain it in the first place—such as empathy, gratitude, self-awareness, and transparency. This has been coined as the “power paradox.”

  • Takeaway 6 Be practical. Don't just follow your passion. Ask yourself, what’s something that I'm good at doing and that other people will pay me to do? Aim to turn your work into a passion rather than the other way around.

  • Takeaway 7: Be a specialist rather than a generalist who claims he or she can work with anyone. By trying to appeal to everyone, we usually end up appealing to no one. Find your niche and target audience.

  • Takeaway 8: Embrace simplicity. Simplify the options you offer. Also, embrace and highlight your unique personality. This is one of the advantages a "Company of One" has.

  • Takeaway 9: Connect with your audience and learn about their needs. Engage in conversations with your prospects. One way to do this is to offer them free consultancy. This could be a win-win as they may end up using your paid service afterward.

  • Takeaway 10: Avoid seeking large upfront investments. They’re most probably unnecessary. Instead, seek to make a profit as quickly and inexpensively as possible. You can seek investments at a later stage, as your company grows. Also, avoid perfection. Your products simply need to create value for someone else. You can always refine it later.

  • Takeaway 11: Don't forget to focus on exceptional customer service and retention. It is crucial in today’s world. Generally speaking, the happier you keep your clients, the more likely they are to refer your business.

  • What are good quotes from Company of One?

    "Growth feeds our ego and social standing."

    “There are advantages to putting in the time and effort to master a skill, but there’s also a great need for balance.”

    “In saying no to anything that doesn’t fit, you leave room to say yes to those rare opportunities that do fit—opportunities that align with the values and ideas of your business.”

    “Instead of imagining “if only this changed, I could thrive,” they have a down-to-earth view that most of what happens in our lives is not entirely within our control and the best we can do is to steer the boat a little as we float down the river of life.”

    “what’s difficult to automate is exactly what makes a company of one great: the ability to creatively solve problems in new and unique ways without throwing “more” at the problem.”

    ― Paul Jarvis, Company of One

    What are the chapters in Company of One?

    Chapter 1: Defining a Company of One
    Chapter 2: Staying Small as an End Goal
    Chapter 3: What's Required to Lead
    Chapter 4: Growing a Company That Doesn't Grow
    Chapter 5: Determining the Right Mind-Set
    Chapter 6: Personality Matters
    Chapter 7: The One Customer
    Chapter 8: Scalable Systems
    Chapter 9: Teach Everything You Know
    Chapter 10: Properly Utilizing Trust and Scale

    Chief Editor

    Tal Gur is an impact-driven entrepreneur, author, and investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has led him to found Elevate Society and other impact-driven ventures.

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