When your company has been in business and experienced growth for a long time, it’s easy to get caught up in always wanting to top yourself. Obviously, you want every product release to be better than the last one, every user conference to be bigger than the previous one, and every holiday party to be more extravagant than the year before. But does it always make sense? Let’s think about it for a minute.
Quarterly celebrations are a great way to reward your team for a job well done and to spend a couple of hours outside of the office having fun. Some of the celebrations we’ve had at Hannon Hill included laser tag, Escape the Room, Top Golf, baseball games. When it comes to company events, though, resist the idea that you always have to upgrade in terms of extravagance. After all, you never want to lose sight of what’s important to your company culture: community, scrappiness, humility, and gratitude. Consider going back to basics on a regular basis. How about a potluck, going on a hike together, or a picnic in the park?
If your company hosts a conference for your users, you want to not only show them how well business is going, but also make sure that your customers are having a great time and will be delighted to come back next time. The key here is to know your audience. Sure, you’ll think that each year, you have to select fancier venues for your events, but never forget who your customers are and what they’re comfortable with. Not everybody enjoys dressing to the nines and bringing a suit if they want to travel light and avoid having to check their bag. Depending on your target audience, spending a fortune on the ritziest places in town might come off as a little tone-deaf. Be generous with your and your staff’s time and make sure that your customers have a wonderful time, but also ensure that they know that you’re not “blowing their money” on frivolous things.
After you’ve first gotten your product on the market and moved it from a minimum viable product (MVP) to production ready mode, it’s typically still pretty easy to roll out a slew of new features very quickly. The more mature and sophisticated your product is getting, the more challenging it is to push out bigger and bigger releases each time because a) the more complex your product is, the more carefully you have to consider how each new feature will impact other parts of the system and b) you’re more in tune with the goals of your customers so you have a better understanding of what you need to do with your product in order to help them achieve those objectives. And this may not always involve a massive release with an onslaught of features, but sometimes a focus on a couple of real game changers. When it comes to managing an agile product roadmap, the key is to find sweet spots in terms of the frequency of releases and to strike the right balance of features in terms of impact and complexity.
Too many companies equate growth with the size of the team. Don’t get me wrong, you certainly don’t want to stretch your team thin, and you should always be opportunistic when it comes to hiring. But before you bring new employees on board, commit to thoroughly assessing your staffing needs. Be sure that existing team members are utilized in a way that is in alignment with individual needs and strengths and the company’s. The goal is to build the highest performing and the happiest team possible, not to just grow the number of team members for the sake of size.
Always focus on “better”.
What about you? What are some other areas where bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better?