‘Company of One’ by Paul Jarvis - Book Review [Video]


When running a business, many people assume that you must aim to run a large business with many employees. But you can equally be a successful if you run a Company of One, which the book will explain for you.

By Ahmed khalifa

Have you always assumed that you’d have to grow your business all the time?

Have you ever thought about the possibility of having a successful business without growing it?

Sounds impossible, right?

There is a trend where business owners are deliberately staying small, so that they can control and maintain their business’ growth, but still run it as a profitable and successful enterprise.

The ‘Company of One’, written by Paul Jarvis, is a book that questions the whole topic of “growth” and why it’s not the “be-all and end-all” for every single business.

I knew I had to read it, as it’s something that resonates with me.

So, in this post, I have created a book review video about ‘Company of One’, with transcripts included.

Front cover of 'Company of One' book by Paul Jarvis (alternative version)

Purchase the book here

You can watch the video of the book review…

…or you can read the transcripts below…


In this video I want to do a book review about this awesome book called the ‘Company Of One’ by Paul Jarvis - “Why Staying small Is the Next Big Thing for Business”.

Now, Paul Jarvis is one of my favourite online creators and business people. He is traditionally a web designer but he has also been creating courses about email marketing. He also has some software programs, he is a podcast host and he is an author.

He's also one of the best newsletter creators out there. His “Sunday Dispatches” - every time he sends it, I open it, guaranteed and it's just awesome.

So, I was so excited to hear that he put together this book, and the first time I heard about it was when he was co-hosting a podcast called 'The Invisible Office Hour' co-hosted with Jason Zook.

He was talking about putting together a book about the ‘Company Of One’. I was excited because that kinda really spoke to me and the idea sounded really, really good. Because not only am I currently a ‘Company of One’, but that's the way I see my business going at this moment in time.

I finally got my hand on this copy and let me tell you all about it. The whole essence about Company of One is to question growth.

It talks about how growing is not always the best decision. It's the easiest decision because if you have a problem in your business it's easy to throw stuff at it, “throw more”, as he quotes, at it and that's not always the best solution.

So for example maybe you have a goal to get lots of customers, then you hire more employees, or maybe you want to increase your revenue then you spend more money. It's “more, more, more” but that's not always the best solution.

It's the easiest but it's not the smartest solution at all.

The problem with having more means that you'll create more ‘other’ things. More stress, more responsibilities, more expenses, more complexities: it creates all these things as well.

And that's not always something you want in your life. There's a story about how you should look at your lifestyle and decide what do you want your lifestyle to be.

Do you want to have the responsibility of lots of employees, to focus all your energy and time on growing a business into a multi-million pound company which is constantly growing, or do you want to create a business that is more suited to your lifestyle?

And you don't want that complexity, you don't want that stress and extra responsibility (or do you?).

Paul talks about that in his book: the fact that growth is seen as a natural thing and you should embrace it, and you should aim for that.

That's not always the case. You should think about other ways of growing but not necessarily into a huge complex organisation.

Because if you're a Company of One you can still have a successful business. That's the one thing he said about Company Of One: "at any size, simple rules, simple processes and simple solutions typically win".

An example would be if you are needing some help with your work, is it better to hire an employee or is it better to get a freelancer?

Now of course, with an employee you have more responsibility because you have to look after them, their livelihood, where are they in terms of their performance and health: a lot of responsibilities.

But maybe is it better to have your own freelancer that you can go to and depend on. That way you can get that freelancer to help you when you need it and you don't have the extra responsibilities, the extra paperwork, holiday organising, salaries and stuff like that.

That's an example of keeping things simple.

See, that's just one of the examples about the whole point of Company Of One - you don't incur all the problems that can occur when you grow your business on a huge scale.

You will limit it, and as I said, simple process, simple rules, simple solutions and you can still grow your business to how you like it.

I should also point out that Paul is not saying that you should be a single-person business to be a Company of One. It's about being better, about being more efficient.

It's not just about focusing on being profitable only and scaling that. It's just about being better for your existing customers.

Another thing is that he coined the term "Intrapreneur". He's talking about those who are in employment who can also be a Company of One. If you have your own goals and your own objectives that you want to reach.

You can create that framework and use the mindset of Company Of One to get what you want in your employment.

Two big examples would be Facebook and Google.

Now Facebook. Apparently their ‘like’ system came about from the Hackathon, which is where people come together and get ideas and just to make things better, make software better and just, you know, come together and implement it.

And apparently the Facebook ‘like’ came from that, and that's from people coming together and thinking of an idea and how to make it work.

It's simple as that.

Even Google is famous for their 20% time (which no longer exists). That is 20% of their time, the employees time can be spent on something other than the traditional work that they have to do. It can be spent on other projects within Google that they can also create.

This has resulted into so many things, Gmail and I think Chrome as well. You know more than half of Google's products came because of this 20% time. And that way they allowed each employee to be technically a Company of One.

I mentioned earlier about how you should look at your existing customers and your existing audience and a lot of businesses are guilty of that. They are always focusing on wanting more and again I've mentioned more.

Here the problem is that they focus on getting more customers, more revenue more this and that. But instead, what you should really focus on is to improve the current products and services and improve the relationship with their customers.

Just improve what you have already and that will naturally help you to grow but in a more manageable way.

By doing that, by focusing on your existing customers, that will help you to make your business profitable and successful.

People don't do that, companies don't do that, and I think the biggest example is the insurance companies out there.

You know what I'm talking about: like some of those car insurance companies or home insurance companies - any of these insurance companies.

They always reward new customers with the best deals and the best products but when it comes to the existing customers, you know how it is.

You get this letter and it says “we're going to increase your rates by X amount”, and that happened to me just recently.

That made me really frustrated because I've paid enough money and they increase it. Yet for the new customers they have decreased the price. Which really doesn't make sense at all.

You should value your existing customers and that's what they are guilty of. That is my own personal reason why I'm never loyal to insurance providers, because they don't look after their existing customers, and I'm sure you can relate to that as well.

Now I can go on and on about it, I mean It's such a good book. I absolutely loved it, it really spoke to me. It's just something I've been thinking about a lot for my own business.

I don't know what I want to do in the long term but the more I thought about before this book came out, the more I wanted to keep things simple yet profitable.

So it suits my lifestyle and it suits what I'm aiming for. It might change, maybe I will get employees and other things, who knows?

There's nothing wrong with that. It's not about not doing it. It's about making sure that you make the smart decisions and the Company Of One can do that.

But I absolutely love this book and I think you should get it as well. And it applies to so many people, applies to those who are a one-person business, applies to those who have a few employees or a few freelancers.

Even those in jobs in employment, it's still a good book. You can still get a lot out of this as well.

Paul has his own Company Of One Podcast where you can hear him speaking about certain snippets of this book. He also interviews other people who are featured in this book about their way of managing their Company Of One.

It's a really really good book. I will put the link in the description down below where you can read a transcript or you can just purchase your own copy and I'm really really impressed with it.

So Paul, thank you for that.

I should also point out though that depending on where you live, you might get a different cover.

I bought this in the UK - this is the cover it will look like, but if you bought it elsewhere you might get a different cover that looks like this one below.

So different covers but exactly the same, so you don't have to worry about it, you know the content being different, it's just the same thing.

I hope you enjoyed this book review and I would love to know what you think about the concept of a Company Of One.

I'd really, really love to know your thoughts about it, let me know in the comments down below and of course while you're at it, I would absolutely love it if you can make sure you subscribe to the channel.

So that I can keep delivering the good stuff and you don't miss out at all.

Let me know what you think as well below and I will speak to you next time, take care.

Purchase the book here