Scale Isn't the Holy Grail

Perhaps you've read some articles that position "scale" to be the ultimate metric of a startup's success. It is especially prevalent along blogs and people that cover technology focused startup ventures. I'm not saying scale is bad. I'm saying that scaling to a billion users shouldn't be your primary business goal.

Your first business goal should be adding value to a specific market. Your second goal should being able to make a reasonable profit while adding value to that specific market. Once you master those to business goals then think about scaling. You may think that scaling before making any profit is advantageous in the long run, however, you aren't considering all the risks.

Scaling Too Quickly Risks

  • trusting a business model that may be unprofitable and unsustainable
  • spending too much time building something not enough people need or want
  • undermining the quality of your product / service
  • derailing the quality of your customer service

Scaling your venture must be done with care. But how much scaling is right for your venture? Tie your business goals to scaling for optimal growth. Scaling too large may actually undermine your business. There are several things to consider before hitting the gas on scaling your business.

Are you launching a luxury brand? Scaling that exponentially would diminish the exclusivity of the brand and product. Are you launching a consulting agency? You need to have plenty of clients but having too many will strain personalized client focus.

Understanding your scaling limitations will help you reach your business goals without over extending your business and resources. Again, gaining scale is important, but what scale is acceptable and maintainable makes a world of difference. Remember to revisit the first two business goals stated earlier in the article. Don't let media, competitors or people pressure you into feeling your targeted scale is inadequate. Your business is unique and your scaling goals should be as well.