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When small businesses dream, they usually dream of becoming a bigger business. When you think about it, nearly every big business began as a small business. Nike's first sale came from the trunk of a car. Dell shipped its first custom-built computer from a college dorm room. And Starbucks began its life as a mom-and-pop coffee shop.

However, a bigger business doesn't always equate to a better business. At some point, big becomes bad. Big becomes a matter of being convenient rather than being unique (McDonald's). Big becomes a game of market share, not customer care (Wal-Mart). Big becomes ubiquitous (Microsoft).

It seems that by the time a small business gets big, it's time for it to act small again. Paradoxical? Yes. Impractical? No.

Countless businesses have managed to get bigger but still retain the semblance of smallness. They get bigger by acting smaller. In essence, these businesses are like jumbo shrimp—big, yet small.

How can your business can get bigger by acting smaller? You can start by following these five "Jumbo Shrimp Business Rules."

Rule #1. Be the best, not the biggest

Jumbo Shrimp businesses believe that getting to the next level is not necessarily about increasing sales or size—it's about becoming the best at what they do.

Cabela's (www.cabelas.com) personifies this business philosophy. What started as a micro-business selling hand-tied fishing flies has evolved into a macro-business generating over $2.0 billion in yearly sales.

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John Moore was formerly in marketing at Starbucks Coffee and Whole Foods Market; he now runs the Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice (www.brandautopsy.com) and is the author of TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture (www.tribalknowledge.biz).