sumoI recently read that most people want to be entrepreneurs, they want to be their own bosses. That doesn’t surprise me.

What was most enlightening was that they would prefer a business that employs less than 100 people. Now that seems reasonable to me on so many levels; more so than the world domination we all supposed to want but actually don’t.

Here is why mastery seems so much better than market domination to me:

  1. I can become a master at what I do. Everything is so fast these days that before you can even get used to a new thing it’s replaced by an even newer thing. I wonder when people actually get to mastery level in their skill-sets, if they even care about it. Masters keep working at their craft, they keep finding new ways to apply the basic principles and that gives them staying power. Many stars fade twice as fast as they came on the scene because momentary appeal is nothing when it’s not backed up by real skill and experience. I know a jazz drummer who practices every day for hours and has done so for decades. He has now made jazz drumming his own, but he still works at it. The general public might not know who he is, but famous musicians act like groupies when he’s around. They realise that whatever their appeal might be they need someone of his skill and experience to back them up on stage. Now that is something I want to aim at.
  2. It’s easy to do what I love. I like the idea of mastery because then I don’t have to deal with all the crap I actually have no interest in. Although business advice is always to get your fingers in as many pies as possible, mastery cannot accommodate that. That leaves some pies for other to play around with, which hopefully will create a more even spread of prosperity.
  3. I can deal with people who I like to work with. This is one of the greatest upsides of building a small business based on mastery and not market domination. What I really didn’t like in the working world was having to spend day after day with people who I would cross the street to avoid in normal life. Anyone with the right qualifications who passed the interview became part of the team, no matter how poor a fit they were for the rest of the team. That isn’t the environment that produces mastery.
  4. I can serve people who value my work. Rather than trying to capture as much of the market as possible I want to focus instead on building meaningful business relationships with people I connect with. We’ve all learnt the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule, right? It says that 80% of most business’ income comes from 20% of their clientele. I think the remaining 80% should find someone else to work with and I will focus on the 20% who really matter to me. That sounds like I will end up with less work and maybe more money when I cut ties with those I cannot serve well.
  5. I can focus on the main thing. Big business is powered by a huge machine (fancy offices, jets, golf club memberships, executive privileges) which sometimes have nothing to do with the main thing. Keeping it small and focusing on mastery means that I will not be swallowed by the running of the show and end up missing the show itself.
  6. I can leave a legacy. Money is not a legacy, no matter how much of it I make it will always have someone else’s face on it. Having a track record of brilliance and mastery is much more valuable in my eyes than just making a lot of money. Taking the example of money, the currency in my country, South Africa, has the face of Nelson Mandela on every note. He made such an impact on society that now his face is money. He didn’t leave money behind or chase after it while he was alive. By focusing on what he valued the man became a symbol of great value. Now that is leaving a legacy, not an inheritance.

I think it is inherent in human nature to share, and the study that says most people just want a manageable business of their own proves that point. If more people open businesses that employ 100 or less employees, there will probably be more jobs and more opportunity for the greater population of Earth to live a good life.

Mastery makes much more sense than market domination.

photo found on