When we visit clients in London they often ask us, ‘How many Marias are you now?’ During the first few years of business the company kept growing and it felt good to be able to say a different number every time.
Two years ago, during the rebranding exercise from Studio+44 to The Two Marias, we did a lot of thinking about who we were and who we wanted to be.
We discovered that we quite liked being small and we sensed that our clients felt the same. Of course we feel fantastic every time we win a new project or a new client: as entrepreneurs it feels exciting to see that your business idea works and to know that you can give work to more people.
But we realised that we didn’t want to be obsessed with the idea of growth, opening offices here, there and everywhere, as we saw some of our competitors doing.
So now, when we tell clients that we’re actually not that bothered about growing, it tends to shock them a little bit at first. It seems like all companies need to be interested in growing; that growth is an inherent part of a business. Well, to us, it doesn’t have to be like that.
Without wanting to enter into economic or financial theories about the benefits of growth, to us, expanding above a certain number of people – say ten – would mean changing the way we work and therefore changing the very essence of The Two Marias.
More employees means higher fixed costs and our monthly revenue would have to increase to cover these. As a result, we might have to accept projects that don’t fit with our particular way of working, i.e. the extra care that we put into every project, large or small.
More staff would also mean more reporting levels and a stronger hierarchy.
Last but not least, more people would mean that Maria Blasi and Maria Sala would be further away from the work that we currently do, and that’s not something we really want to happen.
Both Marias are still entrepreneurs at heart and we enjoy managing projects first-hand and talking to clients day-to-day, understanding their challenges and being able to solve their problems thanks to our considerable experience in the industry.
So, honestly, growing The Two Marias isn’t really a priority for us.
What we are interested in, however, is the quality of product / service we offer, the care we put into each and every project, maintaining a proper work / life balance and keeping our business profitable. In our experience, it can be easier to achieve all of this as a small company.
In a nutshell, our message to small companies everywhere would be: is growing a major priority for you? And if so, why? Because being small, focused, nimble and really close to your clients is a very interesting alternative as well. The Two Marias have spoken.
What do you think? @TheTwoMarias