12 Years of the BIG ENOUGH Perspective

August 14, 2020

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

In Big Enough, I tell the story of reaching a breaking point in 2008. Sachi and I were burned out and tired of ambiguity about where Common Craft was headed.

It was time to make a decision and start putting a plan into action. The path we chose that day was to focus all our efforts on building Common Craft around our original videos and phase out custom videos. Starting then, we placed a long- term bet that we could make Common Craft a company of our own design. We would be in the product business and earn a living based on our intellectual property.

Big Enough Chapter 6 – Designing for the Future

At the same time, I was writing a series of blog posts called “Being Lightweight” where I explained how we were thinking about Common Craft. In a post called Being Lightweight – Business Design, I shared 13 points related to a business that I would now call Big Enough. Here are a handful of those points:

Two People – We are dedicated to being a two-person company without employees. This is a fundamental constraint that guides nearly every decision. By making our size the priority, we have been forced to think hard about what is possible for two people and be prepared to focus on opportunities that work within this constraint.

Balance – We don’t believe in working 80 hours a week, 51 weeks a year so that you can vacation when you’re old.  We work more hours than most, but we’re not bashful about making sure that we live a fun, interesting, and balanced life. Lightweight businesses make this easier.

Limited Layers – Each person who handles a product on the way to the consumer adds weight and removes reward.  We look for the best ways to get our product from an idea to the customer as directly as possible.  Outside of us, Common Craft doesn’t have salespeople, distributors, marketers, or support reps.  We do it all, A-to-Z.

Supporting Two People – At the end of the day, we remember that we are two people.  Sure, our model may not enable us to dominate markets or become a Fortune 500 company, but that’s not our goal.  We need our business to support us and the life we want to live.  

Common Craft Blog: Being Lightweight – Business Design, July 2008

I provide these points as evidence that Big Enough isn’t a brainstorm, or a trend that we recently noticed. We’ve been at it for over 12 years and have stuck to the same constraints we agreed upon back then. Being lightweight and Big Enough is who we are.

Learn more about Big Enough.

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