At Twelve Volts Technologies, we bootstrapped from Day One. And if you’ve any experience with bootstrapping, you would understand the crazy hours and insane amount of coffee. All efforts were focused on survival.
And then the storms and blizzard began to calm. The burn-out is real. And for a long time, there’s finally some room to breathe. And we felt like we are ready to go on to the next phase- growth.
Every business needs to grow. But growth can be a risky thing at the same time. I have seen first hand how a business ‘grew’ without proper operation plan and a line of mediocre product offerings. When you grow a business that is not ready for ‘prime’ time, you are also multiplying all its weaknesses. Think of it like a tumor. It could be potentially malignant and you could be spending more time doing damage control than actually running the business.
And then, there’s all the glamour and fame of the big boys in the major league of your industry. Their sheer volume and revenue could easily spark hopes and get you excited about the possibility of just having 0.0001% of their market share.
In reality, not all big businesses are good businesses. You should know better. Remember the last time you had to call up your bank. What about your mobile networks, or your internet service providers? I am quite sure they are big in terms of customer base and revenues. But quality of service?
As we head into our fourth year into the e-commerce arena, the decision on which path to take is obvious. To grow bigger or to grow better?
P.S. Growing bigger could be a side-effect of growing better. However, it’s often not true the other way round if there’s no recognition of quality (or as Jason Fried puts it: usefulness) as the fuel for long term growth.