As a Founder of an AI, Automation, and Robotics firm, it is tempting to want to scale quickly and become the next big thing. However, growing slowly is the fastest way to build a sustainable startup, particularly for those developing complex technologies like robots, platforms, and AI.
The case for growing slowly is based on the idea that startups need time to figure out their business model and perfect their product. By moving slowly, Founders can avoid the pitfalls of premature scaling and ensure they are building something that solves a real problem and has a viable path to revenue.
There are several examples of successful companies that have grown slowly over time. For instance, Buffer, the social media management platform, took several years to reach profitability, but by focusing on building a sustainable business model, they were able to grow into a profitable company. Another example is Mailchimp, the email marketing platform, which grew steadily over time, eventually becoming a billion-dollar company.
As Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” Other famous technology entrepreneurs, such as Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, also emphasize the importance of focusing on the long-term and building a sustainable business, rather than chasing quick wins.
While it may seem counterintuitive, growing slowly is not about the long-term growth curve of a startup. Instead, it is about the near-term growth curve, the part where the company is still figuring out exactly how its technology works and where its market is. By moving slowly during this phase, Founders can avoid amplifying mistakes with acceleration and instead take the time to make mistakes and learn from them.
Time is a lot of money, but it is also a valuable resource for startups. Ingen Dynamics’ journey of over 7 years is a classic example of how growing slowly can lead to success. By taking the time to develop their technology and build a sustainable business model, they have been able to avoid the fate of other robotics and AI firms that have crashed and burned in their early years. In the end, growing slowly is the fastest way to build a sustainable startup, particularly for those developing complex technologies like robots, platforms, and AI.
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