Welcome!

Opinion

Will growth kill your business?

How to plan for the future

As a marketeer I had the opportunity of working for several startup companies in the past. One company, launched in 1999, offered similar services as Ebay and had an European footprint in The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain and several Eastern-European countries. When I came in the office on my first working day, the office consisted of 6 desks, 6 computers and that was about it. We did not have a working site and sales collateral was not available. Basically, your typically startup situation; highly motivated employees working on materializing a great idea.

After one month we got the site up and running and started to contact local and national businesses about offering their obsolete products on our site for auction. Since auctioning products online was pretty new in 1999, only some businesses were interested in putting their products online. So, we started off with a handful of simultaneous auctions.

Success with a big bang

After we nailed a great deal with the television show Big Brother in The Netherlands we were able to auction all products that were shown in the Big Brother house and our site was also framed within the Big Brother site. Our brand awareness just exploded. For example, we had an average of a million daily visits on our site the first month and consumers were emptying their attics and putting the products on our site en masse. Then we closed a deal with a major airline company and auctioned all seats of a Boeing airplane, which created huge free publicity for our company. Within 5 months after we started the company we had 28.000 simultaneous auctions running on our infrastructure every day. Sounds like a great start of a company, right?!

Wake-up call

In our business plan we did not anticipated this kind of quick success. Our site, for example, had a hard time keeping up with the growth in number of visitors and auctions and the IT-staff was continually buying new hardware, installing and maintaining it. They did not have any time to work on new features or improve overall performance. Unfortunately, the available technology back then was not able to offer us a scalable infrastructure that would automatically grow with our success, so we could continue focussing on growing our business and not having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

You could say that the growth almost killed our business.

Lessons learned

When I look back, I can conclude that I have learned some viable lessons working for this startup. Things that definitely worked and things we should have done differently. I will share some tips with you on the lessons learned.

Lesson 1 – Plan for the unexpected

Don’t stop at looking only 6 months to 1 year into the future, but think 3-5 years ahead. Where will your company be in 5 years from now? How many customers will you serve then? How will this impact your infrastructure? How easy will it be to extend your infrastructure? Which technologies should you (already) use to cope with this anticipated growth and will it become obsolete in 5 years? And so on.

Try to think in different scenarios like worst case, average case, best case and translate these to your infrastructure needs by picking the best possible solution for every case. Talk to the experts if you need advice. Most of them are happy to answer your questions.

Lesson 2 – Focus by outsourcing

As stated in earlier blog articles, If your core business is not managing IT-infrastructures, I advise you to outsource your platform and the management of it like we should have done with our startup. By doing so, you can continue to focus on your core business and don’t waste unnecessary time – and money – on keeping your infrastructure up-and-running.

Lesson 3 – Keep costs down

Choosing a cloud computing solution is not only advisable when your company is (heavily) dependent upon the uptime of its platform and when visitor amounts constantly fluctuate, but also lead to potential cost savings since you only pay for what you actually use and don’t have to invest in overcapacity to cope with these fluctuations. This way, you keep your (infrastructure) costs as low as possible which positively contributes to your ROI.

More Stories By Arjan de Jong

Arjan de Jong is Sales & Marketing Manager of Basefarm and has been working in the Internet industry since 1997.

Latest Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...