A business with eight people in it might be happy, profitable and growing. The same business with twenty might be on the way to bankruptcy.
Ideas, markets, niches and causes have a natural scale.
If you get it right, you can thrive for a long time. Overdo it and you stress the inputs.
The earth has a carrying capacity, certainly. I’m not sure if we in our ever increasing masses, together with the sky-scrappers we are building will we ever be too heavy to weigh the earth down.
The earth might change as a result of technology [we know how to grow food more efficiently than we did a century ago] but in any moment of time, there is a limit beyond which degradation kicks in.
I don’t think many would say that we currently have a people shortage. [Impossible to pull off, but worth considering: what if we skipped a growth cycle in the population and everyone in a generation had just two kids? Or even one…]
Your industry might have room for six or seven well-paid consultants, but when you try to scale up to 30 or 40 people on your team, you discover that it stresses the market’s ability to pay.
When you load your car for a holiday road trip, you load enough for the capacity of the car to carry. If you overload it, not only are you weighing the car down and risk accidents, but you will get traffic fines.
The trick is to know the right amount to carry on the car.
If you want to increase the capacity of the car, you have to get a trailer and that way you increase carrying capacity.
A trailer means more capacity.
More lawyers in a market might create more lawsuits.
More engineers in the market might create more buildings.
More entrepreneurs, more jobs.
More effective ad vehicles certainly create more advertising.
More lanes on the highway have been demonstrated to lead to more people commuting to work.
Sometimes, adding capacity is exactly the right strategy if your goal is to add more revenue.
The next time you find your business struggling, take a minute to think about scale.
More people [or fewer] might be the simplest way to solve your problem.
Building capacity is not just a matter adding more, it is a matter of knowing when to add more and when to wait.