Diesel vs. Rocket Fuel

Hypergrowth. Massive expansion. Super scaling… I’m a bit sick of this mindset. How about stability, solid MRR, reliable customers or perhaps net profit instead? Young companies often see exponential growth as their main goal. “It’s the only way to win” a young founder told me at a recent demo day I attended. “What about profitability?” I responded with…. there was a long pause on his side.

While growing a company and gaining market share is important, at what cost does it come? 

I’m convinced the current Covid-19 crisis will show the stability and true health of companies in every sector – big or small. Therefore, what if we strived for a different goal when growing a business? What if we took a more diesel approach rather than rocket fuel hyper growth? While it may be slower, it’s much more reliable. What if we strived for robustness? (It’s not only my friend Jamie’s favorite word, but it’s fun to say as well.)

A stable, robust company can stand almost any headwind it faces. What are a few ways to build a robust company?

  • Vision – it’s the reason you should jump out of bed every morning. Too often I talk with startups who can sell me on their MVP but totally lack a vision. What’s your north-star? What are you trying to change in the world? As products, business models and trends change, a strong vision is essential for every company
  • Team – the people in your business are what make it great. Would Apple still be an amazing company if the design and marketing teams changed jobs after they created the first iPhone? No way! A strong goal-oriented team who execute daily is the bedrock of every great company
  • International – We live in a global village. The speed at which the Coronavirus has spread is a great reminder of how international we are. Don’t think locally! There are customers and clients sitting around the world just waiting to use your product or service. If you think small, you’ll only win small.
  • Product/Market Fit – move slow to move fast. Focus more on growing your “true customers” and making a better product, then sales will be much easier.

While rocket fuel may be tempting and needed during phases of growing every company, taking a diesel mentality will help you to create a great business. Now let’s say it all together… Robustness. Ahhh that’s better.  

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