February 23, 2021 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Everybody loves a good success story. However, the media dedicates much of its attention to businesses that take the world by storm. Whenever you check the news or scroll through your social media timeline, you’ll likely see an article about an entrepreneur who turned their small business idea into a multi-billion dollar empire. If you’ve ever met with other aspiring entrepreneurs or attended conventions for business owners, you’ve probably encountered dozens of people who want to become the next Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg in their respective niches. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with aiming high and having a global vision for your business — it doesn’t mean that it’s the right path for everyone.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons to reign in unnecessary scaling, focus on localized markets, or simply maintain a small business with no intentions of expanding to the international stage. The key is to avoid giving in to the hype and the media narrative that worldwide business stardom should be the endgame for every entrepreneur. Instead, take a look at these five reasons you don’t need need to be a worldwide success to be happy and truly successful.
Worldwide success comes with intense public scrutiny
When Manoj Bhargava launched 5-Hour Energy in 2003, he was completely unknown to the general public. Even when his company became an international success and brought in billions of dollars in annual revenue, Bhargava preferred anonymity. Why? According to the businessman himself, fame “puts a target on your back.” He had no desire to be famous because it didn’t add anything of value to his life and could actually end up hurting his business. Later on, he realized that he would need to come out of the shadows in order to accomplish his philanthropic goals, but it was still a tough decision for the reclusive billionaire.
When you create a worldwide brand, people want to know about you. They want to know your story, your business philosophy, your politics, and even the details of your personal life. Though you can always dodge interviews and try to remain anonymous, it’s difficult to do — especially if you want to continue growing your business and expanding into international markets. So, if you’re not ready to put yourself in the spotlight, a worldwide business model might not be the best option for you.
Small businesses make a significant difference
It’s a common misconception that companies like Apple and Google have the greatest impact on the world. Sure, they are ubiquitous; you probably see Google Ads when you browse the internet and it’s difficult to walk down the street without seeing at least a dozen people with iPhones in their hands. However, just because these companies are everywhere doesn’t mean that they are everything. In fact, it’s the millions of small and medium-sized businesses that keep the global economy running as it should.
Just as importantly, small businesses help keep larger businesses in check. Your business may not rake in billions or even millions per year, but you do make an impact on your consumers. In one way or another, you also affect change in your industry. It’s kind of like the butterfly effect. Even a small change — or a small business — can have a ripple effect that goes much farther than most people realize. Moreover, small businesses have proven to be extremely philanthropic in their local communities, driving positive change at the local level.
Scaling greatly increases your responsibilities
When you scale your business, your organization almost certainly becomes larger and more complicated. In most cases, businesses that try to scale to a global level have to adopt more complex processes, navigate laws and taxes in multiple countries, and hire a larger workforce. All of this presents a pretty daunting scenario that many entrepreneurs are ill-equipped to face.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t scale your business just because it’s difficult or because there are hurdles to overcome. However, it’s very important that you understand the potential consequences of becoming a worldwide success. In a matter of days, weeks, months, or years, you could go from having just a few employees to managing thousands of workers across the globe. Every action or decision you make could significantly impact the lives of your workers, customers, and vendors. Therefore, you may want to slow down your business growth if you’re not ready to have all of that responsibility on your shoulders.
Many consumers prefer local businesses
Despite laws that aim to break up monopolies, there are various businesses that have wiped out most of the competition in their respective industries. However, competition is good because it gives people options. Consumers don’t like when they only have one choice for a certain product or service. This is why the vast majority of consumers buy from local businesses on a regular basis.
Many consumers turn to small, localized businesses to avoid faceless, multinational corporations and help boost the local economy. Rather than ordering a special auto part from Amazon, someone can go to their local mechanic shop and make a purchase. Not only does this help keep the local business community thriving, but it ensures that international business giants don’t take 100% of the market share. There’s a reason that the term “buy local, think global” has become so popular in recent years. Building up local communities by either starting a local business or frequenting local businesses can have a positive impact on tens of thousands of people — if not more.
You might be happier where you are
Finally, it’s important to keep your own happiness in mind. When you first sat down to make a business plan, what was your ultimate goal? More importantly, where did that goal come from? For example, let’s say you dedicated from the get-go that you wanted to become a worldwide success. Were you making this plan because it’s what you wanted to do or because it’s what you thought you were supposed to do? Many entrepreneurs think that they want to (or have to) go big or go home because they’ve been programmed to think this way.
In truth, you don’t need to be the next big thing in tech, finance, healthcare — or any other industry — to be happy and successful. In fact, small business owners consistently report high happiness and job satisfaction ratings. You can still make a highly profitable company and find time to enjoy life by keeping your business small. If you’re happy with your revenue, your business plan, and your work/life balance, why rock the boat? Instead of chasing a dream that you may not even want, take inventory of how happy your business makes you now. You may just find that you’re exactly where you want to be.
The bottom line
Success is a complicated metric with virtually no universal standards. The media may measure success in annual revenue, market share, or net worth, but only you can determine what success means for your business. Rather than getting swept up in the craze to be a worldwide phenomenon, evaluate your own goals, values, and happiness to determine the best path for you. Not only will this prevent you from chasing something you don’t really want or need, but it will ensure that you create a business that best represents your true entrepreneurial vision.