Web Reliability

7. What about growth?

Mitchell Kimbrough
Written May 29, 2019 by
Mitchell Kimbrough
Founder & CEO

Let’s assume that great progress has been made and you now have your website and your team set up so everything will continue reliably. Does arriving at reliability mean your revenue will remain reliably flat? Of course not! Reliability means consistency, and consistency gifts you with predictability. With predictability you can confidently plan for the evolution of your website and the company behind it, knowing you have a solid foundation to support your efforts. Even when making ambitious plans for rapid growth, that built-in reliability is your most valuable risk management tool. When you and your team mindfully develop a rational and achievable growth strategy for your web presence, predictable revenue growth will be the result.

So let’s talk about growth. Why not shoot for the moon, in the spirit of that crazy, amazing 1990's dot com explosion? Money starts rolling in, and it’s fun to go to the gastropub and brag about the insane super-fast growth of your web business. But take a step back and think about sustaining the reliability you currently have. Think about how and why it works. Now can you really scale up your team, your fulfillment warehouse, and your consulting squads fast enough and well enough to respond to this kind of exponential web growth? Probably not. Very few businesses survive this kind of activity. This is why so many get sold off to bigger companies so quickly afterward (because those companies already have an infrastructure in place to manage the bigger business.) When you look at it this way, insane rapid growth is toxic. It’s glorious and dramatic, but also often catastrophic.

We’ve lived through this at Solspace when hit with a series of unexpected spikes in software sales from our plugin library. This resulted in enormous stress and suffering for the team and compromised everyone’s ability to do our usual high-quality work. Spikes in sales mean spikes in customer support requests, which we were rarely able to scale up to meet quickly or well. The other times in our history when we grew predictably, with planning and new hires and time to transition, we did so in a way that has been successful and sustainable. Done this way, the business growth also contributed to strengthening the baseline of reliability.

Reliability is predictability and predictability is stability. Stability invites and enables opportunity. Consistent revenue over time is the only winning strategy if you want to stay in business for a long time.