How to Determine If a Business Size Fits “Just Right”

The Goldilocks Method for Deciding What Size Is the Right Size


You’re probably asking yourself, what does “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” have to do with business. Let me see if I can explain. As we work on expanding our business to add coaching and consulting to the construction, I have been thinking a lot about what size is “just right”. I have experienced too small and too big. I know how uncomfortable either of these can be. So how do we determine what size is “just right”?

In the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, a little girl named Goldilocks, has been walking through the forest when she comes across a house. She knocks, but no one answers. She smells the warm porridge and realizes the walk has made her hungry, so she goes in. Inside she finds three different sized bowls of warm cereal. She tasted the big one and it was too hot. Then, she tried the next one, but it was too cold. The small bowl was just the right temperature, so she ate it.

After she finishes eating, she finds herself getting tired. So, she goes into the living room and finds three different sized chairs. She tried the big and middle-sized chairs, but they were both too big. She found the small one to be a good fit, so she sat down. Just as she began to doze off, it broke.

Now she really needed a nap. She found three beds, all different sizes. The big one was too hard, the middle one was too soft. The small one was just right. So, she lay down and went to sleep.

While she was sleeping the bears came home to find that someone had been eating their porridge, sitting in their chairs and sleeping in their beds. Just then Goldilocks woke up and ran screaming from the house.

There are several business lessons to be learned from this story. First is Goldilocks skipping through life without a plan. Second is Goldilocks having helped herself to the bear’s things (this is a business lesson for a different blog). The one I want to focus on today is the bears having figured out what temperature, size and mattress support was the best fit each of them.

I have done business when I was the only one. I did everything; sales, marketing, admin., finance, the construction, all of it. This can work, but there is a maximum that one person can do. A maximum number of people that one person doing everything can help. This business model is neither right nor wrong, it just needs to be the right fit.

I have also been a partner in a small construction company that was doing great. Because we were doing excellent work and were filling a need, we began to grow and GROW…and GROW. This high-speed growth is a common situation that I have experienced and seen happen over and over. It often ends in disaster with unhappy customers and/or going out of business.

This brings me back to Goldilocks and the bears. Being successful in business is less about the size and more about the fit. You need to be intentional about what fits you, not what fits someone else or what someone else tells you should fit.

As Goldilocks grows up she will mature and need bigger bowls and furniture. This growth happens gradually and with intentional purpose. This is why I am working hard to surround myself with quality people that are a good fit. In order for these people to know what is expected of them and how the different positions fit together, there needs to be an intentional plan. This is the piece that is missing in most companies as they go from the small to the big.

As Goldilocks matures hopefully she will make good decisions and take advantage of the Solution Building “Business Framework’, go back to the bears for some experienced advice and to repay them for the food and the chair.

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