Growing big or staying small?

I have some entrepreneuring friends who have been successful with their ventures. With healthy cash flow and promising business models, they asked for my opinions on what’s next.

For some people reinvesting for growth is a clear choice but for young entrepreneur like my friends, it’s not always the best choice.

As you expand, you will become more and more CEO-ish. I mean, yes, you are a CEO before, but in a small company, you probably do a lot of the job yourself. You can afford to have finger in every pie. As you grow bigger, there is a rational bound that keeps you to more important tasks, which are usually managerial tasks. You spend less time doing the real job, which is most probably your passion.

The bigger your company is, less personal it would be. This is good or bad depends on how you see it. In a small company, keeping in touch with everyone is easy. A meeting might hold the whole work force. You see their face everyday. Decision making doesn’t take much time as there aren’t a lot of levels in command. This is not the case in big company. You will rely on senior officers to give you  inputs on different departments. You probably won’t even see other employees’ faces.

With more people in a company, you will face a lot of influence, either bad or good, especially from seniors who are probably older than you.  It will be more difficult to make decision, introduce something new, venture into a new business model or having fun in the office. You have to act serious to gain their respect. There will be politics too so you have to know when people are trying to win over you just to get you on their side, for example.

Of course, there are a lot of good reason to grow large. And some of the companies manage to keep the fun in the workplace, (i.e. Google, Facebook). What I mention above are just some points that some might overlook in the excitement of growing his/her company.

As for my friends cases, I actually advised them to grow their business, but also to be careful not to lose the reasons of why they started a company.

As for me, while I have had the opportunity to run a business cycle, make difficult and risky decision, make real profit, lose real money and some other things, I haven’t had the opportunity to run my own company yet as I feel there are still a lot to learn by working in other companies. Some might think that experiencing failures first hand is a good teacher. I think that’s true but if you don’t learn anything from it, it might be as well an excuse for such failure.

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Hypocrite

Hypocrite is a kind of lie. Who’s never lied? Do you speak your mind whenever you go, even inappropriately? That’s not un-hypocritic, that’s a lack of social skill.

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What’s up with me now

Ok, so I left a lot of my passion in my life now. Not totally banished them, but put them to a kind of sleep until I found them interesting again, or at least until I have some time to spend with those passions.

Right now I totally not interested in ASB/Mutual Fund or any kind of slow investment now. The reasons? It’s slow and I’m better off using the money for something else.

Keyboard: I rarely played them lately. Erm.. last time I touched the keyboard is like 3 months ago. I’m still enjoying songs from Rob Costlow though.

Audiophile: I’ve stopped purchasing new audiophile stuff. Currently, my top of the line is Sennheiser HD650 and Zero Dac. It’s gonna cost a lot more to upgrade and I haven’t a solid reason to upgrade.

Blu-ray: Not spending much on buying/selling bluray because it’s time consuming. My friend is taking care of it. Visit rentori.com.my for more info.

So what’s new?

Car: I’m picking up Honda City in Mid March, so I’ve spent sometime with HC3msia.com as a member and met others in a Teh Tarik session. Fun fellas. I might be focusing my business to Automotive stuff in near future but nothing in plan at the moment.

Nexus One: Not really a passion but it’s my main business now.

IKEA: lol.. I’m moving into new rental apartment and I spent some time thinking of what to buy for the new place.

Work: I’m an internet marketer/social manager/business development in a local company now. Kinda love this job actually. The workplace is near(Midvalley!). Colleagues can’t be better, boss is generous and pay is quite okay. I’m learning a lot. Not just learning, I actually discovering a lot of cool stuff in marketing online products. This is a world class company and I’m proud to be part of it.

Health: I’m joining Celebrity Fitness and have workout 2-3 times per week. The result is quite satisfying now and it’s inside Midvalley.I play Futsal every Saturday, and sometimes alternate it with Badminton. (btw, I saw Datuk Lee Chong Wei in Midvalley today)

That’s all I guess. Getting the new job is one of the best decision I’ve ever made. Well not quite a tough decision, but I can’t imagine doing other thing that what I’m doing right now.

Alright.. till the next post

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WordPress 2 Iphone Apps

I just found our about this nifty iPhone app. Now I can write draft post, publish it and approve comment on the go.

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Twenty Twelve

This is too funny. [via BizzaroBlog]

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We are now Iphone and Ipod Touch Friendly

Yeap, you hear it right. Grab your iphone or ipod touch and give http://irwan.biz a visit. If you have wordpress blog, you can have the same features by installing WP-Touch Plugin.

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Be an Expert in your area

People do love the word expert, especially in business. Being an expert means that you do the things that you do in the best way. If you are an expert in fishing, people will follow you to your fishing spots, use the same kind of baits that you use and they see you are their benchmark. If you are expert in marketing, people are looking for you for marketing advices, plans and actions.

In business environment, one company can’t do everything by itself. It needs help. That’s the reason Business-to-Business(B2B) exists. So businesses are looking for expert companies that excel in a certain area of their needs.

If you are a software provider, people are expected twice as much from you. First, you are an expert programmer. Second, you are an expert of what your software do. Let’s say your software is providing Human Resource Management System(HRMS), you can’t just rely on your strength as programmers alone. You have to be an expert in HRMS too. The reason is simple, if your customers are paying for HRMS, they are looking to depend on you for their HRMS needs. This is even more important if you are providing software as a service (SaaS) as you need a single solution for every customer. That means,  your solution has to be best, a trend setter, industry standard, to manage human resource.

That’s not only it. Since your platform is web based, your websites must be user friendly, secured, fast-loading, easy to use(high usability) and comply with WC3 standards. Those are  area of expertise and you need to be among the best of each one.

That being said, building a software is not about putting all the functions together. It is about meeting your customers expectations. If you don’t know what your customers expected, ask them. Make some surveys, let them fill in all the blanks in your mind. If you don’t talk to your customers, you will be a blind in a desert. Instead, be the expert in every field that you are in.

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Google Wave Invitation Giveaway

I have a bunch of invitation for Google Wave. I haven’t use it that much to tell you how compelling is the service. But if you would like to join in the hype and see Google Wave yourself, just fill in your email to the form link. All email will be discarded once I put them to send you the invites

Google Wave Invite Form

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Organization – That’s your job, Boss

Running a business is not an easy job. You have to make sure that every gear in your company is well oiled and working fast. Sometime you have to go into the hood and replace broken gears or re-oil them.

But One thing that you shouldn’t do is to be the gear. As a CEO, your job is to make sure your organization work efficiently, and work the way you want. To do this, you don’t have to be an expert for every field. What you need is the right person for every position. That person will be advising you the best practice for his/her department. If you are the one who is advising them, then it’s a last generation organization. As the next generation organization, CEO will be the one who listen and decide, not the one who advice and do. There is one easy way to know which one is you: If you are the one who talk a lot in a meeting and your employees are listening and taking note, this organization is obsolete. If you are the one who listen to the suggestions, your employees are fighting for their own ideas and at the end of the day you make the well-informed decisions, then you are on the right track.

In our world today, there is too much knowledge to know. It’s impossible to know everything. If all of your employees depends on you for inputs, the total value of your organization is only you. This is a waste of time and money.

Some say that doing this will let your company lose the steer. Yes they are right if that is the only thing that CEOs do. However, this is not the case. Like driving a car, CEO will be the one who is steering and watch the dashboard for engine condition and problems. You are the one who hold the steering but not necessarily know about every moving part in the engine. But in this analogy, your car also self-revolutionize into a better and faster car.

My last words, stop being a car mechanic and start being the driver.

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Let’s resist Coca-Cola Brrr! Campaign

bukeko2-300x225I heard it everywhere and getting sick of it. Era radio got it, TV commercial got it, everywhere! I’m calling everyone to resist the ‘culturization’ from the big conglomerate, Coca-Cola.

It’s not just that the campaign misrepresented Kenyans but it also shows that the world can be culturized if you have enough money to dump in. So, next time you hear your friend Brrr-ing in front of you, explain to him that he just falls victim to a worldwide commercial culturization.

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