Growing Pains

We follow the 37signals blog for input and interesting ideas about running companies. These folks have been very successful with their projects and the advice provided on the blog is interesting and relevant, especially to a software company like ourselves that is growing and experiencing the same types of challenges.

A recent blog post from 37signals—included at the bottom of this post—advises small companies not to act too large and project themselves as something they are not. We have faced this challenge ourselves when we started up from 2002-2006 and you have to consider your market position and size before determining how to project your company. The 37signals post advises to be proud of being small but there really is no single answer here. Certain businesses benefit from maintaining a small company image. Other businesses would be damaged by the same image.

Jamison Morrow, an architect and uber-developer here at WebAD, put together a few of his thoughts on the company size image you might consider based on your business environment.

Go small if…

  1. your marketing message is youthful
  2. your marketing message is dynamic
  3. you are catering to a crowd that wants to break the big box mold

Go big if…

  1. you need to appear reputable
  2. you need to reassure your customers that your company has staying power
  3. you don’t want your customers worried that if you’re hit by a bus the company goes away
In response to:

Spinfree had a dirty little secret: It wasn’t really a “company.” It was just me…[But] when describing Spinfree, I always spoke in terms of we, us, the team, or our offices. I trained myself always to use the collective first person—on the phone while pitching to potential clients, on Spinfree’s website, in the proposals I submitted…Why the bluffing? I was young and inexperienced and felt like people would not take Spinfree seriously if they knew that it was just me…I wish I knew then what I know now: Being small is nothing to be insecure or ashamed about. Small is great. Small is independence. Small is opportunity. Celebrate it. Don’t hide from it.

—Excerpt from “Don’t Exaggerate Your Size,” Jason’s latest column for Inc. Magazine (more of Jason’s Inc. columns)

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