We are told to think big. Have dreams. Think outside the box, and even outside the realm of possibility.

It’s good to have dreams and think big, right? Especially if you own and operate a small business. Thinking big is the first step in being successful, or so we’re told.

But perhaps we need to be careful when we think big.

Oh, it’s alright to have dreams and a vision for great things in the future. It’s OK to have a business model predicated upon future growth. But not all big thinking is beneficial. Bigger isn’t always better.

Think about it:

  • Where did the Occupy Wall Street movement come from and why are so many people unhappy with big banks and big corporations?
  • Why is there such a backlash against big box stores and big national chains?
  • How do we feel about the customer service we get from big businesses?

In many American cities there has been a philosophical and cultural move away from malls and big stores to smaller, local businesses. “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” and “Think Local” can be seen on bumper stickers.

In the rush to think big, we often confuse it with acting big.

No matter how large you get, don’t lose your small spirit and feel. Don’t lose the small culture that attracted people to you and made your small business successful in the first place.

By all means, think big. Dream dreams, and move forward. But don’t lose site of your customers and what they want. Don’t lose that personal touch that comes with being small.

Think big, while also thinking small.