Why small is more powerful than big

Small things we do are often far more powerful than big things. Let’s look at why.

1. Small is easy

When we want to achieve something, we are inclined to set a big goal because it feels more aspirational.

But in reality, human-beings are not so good at changing existing patterns to achieve big goals, especially when those big goals take much more time and effort to accomplish. Here you’ll see how only 8% of people achieve their New Year Resolutions.

Against that, small things are easy to accomplish. And they’re easy to accomplish right now too. For example, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars gets much, much easier when you stop buying the cup of coffee on your way to work or when you increase your service fee from today by adding extra value that serves your clients even more.

It’s the small actions that accumulate to help us reach our big goals long-term.

2. Small is everywhere

When you are to hit the next big milestone — whether it is to land on a dream job, to find a perfect love or to find an investor who makes your dream come true — you need some level of luck too. Successful people somehow seem to tap into rare opportunities.

Many of the thought leaders featured in the best-selling book and documentary ‘The Secret’ said “visualisation is the key to manifestation”. It’s important to have your big goal visualised in your mind to attract great opportunities.

Enabling that process is the power of seeing small opportunities right in front of you. Small opportunities are everywhere — the opportunity to do your best in your current job, the opportunity to be kind and open to people who you meet today and the opportunity to pitch your idea to just one person today.

Small is powerful because it’s ubiquitous. We all have plenty of opportunities to make progress towards our aspiring goals.

3. Small is agile

In many of the well-known old tales, small heroes defeat big ogres. These are not to say small is greater or better. But these stories symbolise how small things can be more powerful because of its agility and speed.

When we begin a new project, it’s tempting to wait until we are ready to do it in a big impressive way. But the power of small is because we can make many small mistakes and learn quickly as we grow.

Small start-ups with great ambitions and the ability (and willingness) to make a lot of small mistakes are rapidly changing the way industries work today.

How small can change the world

When it comes to solving many of the global issues, we can look into the ‘power of small’ too. Those challenges include environmental issues, increasing income gaps, lack of access to basic resources and education for the billions of people. They are massive challenges.

Here, I’ve laid out figures that show the additional funds required (yearly) to provide some of the much needed resources to people in developing countries.

They seem pretty big, don’t they?

But in contrast, let’s look into another set of figures. Here are the sizes of some familiar industries in the world (in annual turnover).

Now you can start to see how businesses in our world actually already have the potential to solve some of these big challenges. And if you think of the fact that these industries here represent only small part of the commercial activities that exist in our world, the numbers on the left seem to be even easier to achieve. They are actually so small in comparison to the financial power businesses already have.

Let’s go further here to see if the 3 key insights of the power of small can help us come up with easy, ubiquitous and agile solutions to these big issues.

What small businesses can do…. with just one dollar

First of all, in every industry, there are big companies and small ones. Large corporations these days have CSR departments. It’s almost a requirement in today’s world where consumers are starting to be more educated and concerned of social issues. But what about small businesses?

Small businesses are everywhere, from the street corner shops to family run businesses. Governments routinely attribute 70% of economic power to SMEs. So, what if all these businesses started to take actions in ways they believe in?

And what if we broke down the global challenges into the smallest possible impact units so that any businesses could make a difference just by giving what they can give?

Ponder this: if small businesses can give a few cents or a few dollars for every business activity they have everyday, then can these millions of businesses and billions of activities change the world together?

The B1G1 model – the world full of giving

In 2007, we founded the global giving initiative B1G1 (www.b1g1.com) to help small businesses give back and make a difference in meaningful ways.

Imagine a café giving access to life-saving water for every coffee they sell, or an accounting firm educating a disadvantaged child for every client they serve…

B1G1 makes these things possible. Over the last nine years, we have worked with more than 1,600 small businesses from all industries and these businesses have created more than 89 million giving impacts to date together. When we say ‘giving impacts’, each impact symbolises a special giving activity such as ‘planting a tree’ or ‘giving much needed mediation to one person’ or ‘giving a book to a school library’.

That 89 million giving impacts is now accelerating. So we see that (yet again) small really has a power.

Because it’s small, any business at any stage of development can consider supporting resonant causes through their business, making their everyday business activities much more meaningful.

Because it’s small, the opportunities are everywhere. We don’t need to find one big solution to change everything. And with this perspective, every challenge we see in our world becomes an opportunity for us to make a difference.

Small really is big.

And so is the impact your business can have.



If you want to do more to create positive impact…

You can learn more about the art of making improvements in Masami’s latest book “GIVING BUSINESS: Creating The Maximum Impact in the Meaning-Driven World”.

You can also download the free e-book to find out how you can maximize the impact of your life and business from here.

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