Company of One by Paul Jarvis: Summary and Notes

Company of One

“Becoming too small to fail makes you small enough to make your own choices concerning your work.”

Rating: 8/10

Related Books: The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, The E-Myth Revisited, The Millionaire Fastlane, The 4-Hour Workweek, Rework, Zero to One

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Company of One: Short Summary

If you are looking to learn what it takes to start your own business with minimal resources, Company of One is a great book. Paul Jarvis shares his personal story and the experiences of others who have successfully created businesses to support their preferred lifestyle.

Defining a Company of One

The definition of a company of one defies the concept of company growth.

Companies of one should be normalized because you will always be better than anyone at looking out for your own best interest, even in a large corporation.

Being a company of one requires you to build your work around your life, not the other way around.

The four recurring characteristics of companies of one are:

  • Resilience
  • Autonomy and Control
  • Speed
  • Simplicity

To have a successful company of one, it is important to think about:

  • Whether growth is truly beneficial to your business
  • How you could solve business problems without adding ‘more’
  • Whether you need funding or capital, or if you’re just thinking too big

Staying Small as an End Goal

Success can be personally defined, and it doesn’t have to be all about ever-increasing profits.

For companies of one, making the business better is a greater priority than making it larger.

A business remaining small can be a long-term plan and not just a stepping stone to a larger establishment.

For example:

In 2019, I founded a content marketing agency. I had the right skill set and a good idea but I didn’t want the lifestyle needed to run this type of company. That’s one of the main reasons why I shut the project down.

Envy is dangerous in running a company of one because it causes the businessman to take his focus off of his path and growth, and onto other people’s businesses.

“Envy is like comparing starting ingredients to a baked pastry: it is misleading.”

Envy can be a useful tool if it can be used to recognize what you value.

What’s Required to Lead

Introverts can make great leaders for companies of one, and can also learn how to be charismatic.

Companies of one are required to have knowledge of varied subjects and possess multiple skills to achieve their goals.

A company of one needs to know how to gauge what potential customers think of their products and services. As well as that of their competitors.

Resilience is key in helping a team reenergize when the business faces a setback.

A leader of a company of one will find himself learning how to say no as a strategy to keep his priorities in order.

Growing a Company That Doesn’t Grow

Company of one - Growing a Company That Doesn’t Grow

Things to consider when growing a company of one:

  • How to prioritize existing customers or transform them into repeat customers
  • Making your business idea vision as small as possible such that you can take action now with little or no investment
  • The growth as a business or an individual won’t require you to do things you don’t want to do

Determining the Right Mindset

A company of one needs to have a real underlying purpose to succeed and experience longevity.

“Your purpose is more than just a pretty-sounding mission statement on your website; it’s how your business acts and represents itself. And it’s what your business sometimes places above even profit.”

Scheduling of tasks helps you get more done in less time and therefore get to enjoy life outside of work. I plan my days the day before using time blocking.

Personality Matters

Your personality gives you an edge as a businessperson in a company of one. Don’t suppress it!

Your audience wants to relate to your personality: if you don’t assign yourself one, your audience will.

“Brand personality needs to foster a two-sided relationship—one focused on not just how your businesses can benefit or gain something from others, but on how others can benefit from having a relationship with your business.”

Your brand ought to represent a key part of who you are to relate to those you are reaching out to.

The One Customer

With the limited number of staff at a company of one, it is possible to give highly personalized customer service which is vital for a booming business.

Good customer service is a requirement. Exceeding the standards of customer service by treating customers like they’re extremely important and adding personal touches gives the customer a positive emotional experience, making a company stand out.

A customer’s success is the business’s success.

It was found that 88% of customers are unlikely to make repeat purchases from companies that don’t respond to customer feedback on social media.

Teach Everything You Know

The following are benefits of out sharing your competition rather than out scaling them:

  • Showing up to your audience as a teacher deems you as an expert in your subject
  • Your audience gets to learn the benefits of what you’re selling
  • Educating your customers on how to use your products or services. Achieving success will transform them into long term customers and share their experiences with others
  • Transparency with your customers can help you build trust

Sharing what you know builds a following around your product as well as around your company’s core values.

Properly Utilizing Time and Scale

The company of one’s ability to establish close and personal relationships with customers makes it possible for them to benefit from word of mouth.

Customers love to be rewarded for loyalty.

It is always rewarding for a company to build trust with a specific audience because niche customers are usually repeated customers.

Launching and Itenaring in Tiny Steps

The strongest asset of a company of one is finding simple solutions to complicated problems.

Keep your product launches simple and for a singular audience. Niche down and solve a very specific problem.

For example:

My Building a Brain OS Masterclass solves a very niche problem: creating your own book summaries from scratch.

Know when to quit. It is ok to let go of an idea completely or work on improving it if it’s not yielding satisfactory results.

The Hidden Value of Relationships

It is easier to sell to people with whom you have already built a rapport. It will not be embarrassing to talk about your product to people who genuinely care for you and your journey. This is the power of building strong long-term relationships.

Customers are interested in who the business owner is as a person.

Empathy makes your customers feel you care about making them happy more than you care about making a sale.

Starting a Company of One

Working for yourself will require you to experience less freedom in the beginning. Consistency is key and you will have to develop strong habits to succeed.

Build your initial audience by using your already existing skill sets.

In the beginning, look for people who have questions you have answers to and offer your opinion free of charge.

For example:

I used to answer a lot of questions about productivity on Quora and it brought me a lot of new readers (hit me up if you are one of them!). Quora eventually banned my account. ?

Open a separate bank account for your business and from there, pay yourself dividends or salaries.

Make sure that your business is legally compatible with your country’s laws and policies.