Build, Grow, Scale, Repeat
Growth. It’s the main thing you think about in a young business. Every conversation with a prospective client asks you how many people you’ve already helped. Every conversation with a potential investor asks how much you’ve increased your success from the year before. You feel like the company is really advancing if your team doubles in size.
It is definitely important (as you’re starting out) to focus on expansion. With Vastari, we were so proud to say in 2013 that we had 150 museum professionals registered to our platform, then 500 by 2015, and all the way to more than 2,000 today.
But in 2018 - 2019, the company reached new heights. Our match rate - the successful matching of content with venues - grew from 112 in 2017 to 256 in 2018, and we did 296 in the first 6 months of 2019.
Now it feels like we are really achieving the growth we always wished for. It is really, really growing. Funny thing is, that this doesn’t mean we can just sit back and relax - it is actually a blessing and a curse.
What happens when growth starts happening at a faster rate, is that all of your systems that might have been a little bit more informal, all of your more spontaneous processes, all of the things that you thought would just ‘work’ - are tested to maximum capacity. You start overloading a system that worked for 100 with 500, and it will start showing cracks. Not only because the system may not be working anymore - but also that your customers are using the system in ways you didn't even expect.
Fortunately, the reinforcements are underway. We are listening to our customers, building more robust systems, documenting everything we do, hiring new team members and all of the wonderful things that need to happen when you encounter these issues. But on the way, over the past few months, we might not have been as present and aware of the customer experience as some would have expected, and that’s why we’re stepping back from the growth for a moment.
This August, we will focus on the reinforcements. Luckily, a lot of our customers will be on holiday, so we hope not too many people will notice the hiatus.
In September, we will be announcing new pricing plans, more structured operational procedures and new members of the team. We will start focusing on growth again - and I can’t wait to see what we achieve before 2020 - but for now, we need to focus on what we have and make sure that it’s all working the right way.
Thank you for supporting us on our journey, and we look forward to continuing to service the museum and exhibition sector in the best way possible for many years to come.
Cover image: "Building a Catafalque" ca. 1279-1213 BC, Norman de Garis Davies (1865-1941) Metropolitan Museum Collection. Rogers Fund, 1930.