Last week we surpassed $1M in revenue for 2019. It’s the first time as a self-funded company that we’ve ever hit this mark in a calendar year. I’ll always remember inputting the sale into QuickBooks and then turning to the rest of our team working at the same table in the co-working space we share with other companies and telling them the exciting news. It was a very special moment.
We’re a forward-thinking company and we’ve got more goals and growth we’re pursuing. But reaching this milestone has had me reflecting on all the ups and downs that have lead to this point in our journey. I’m not claiming that I have all the answers or that our roadmap is right for other companies, but I felt compelled to share some of the key takeaways that I’ve learned over the last 6 years.
- More important than what you’re doing are the people you’re doing it with.
- Don’t burn bridges. Opportunities come back around.
- We never chased top-line revenue. For us, it’s been all about profitability and sustainable growth.
- I advise any entrepreneur to get comfortable hearing “no.” But not too comfortable.
- We can only learn so much from others’ mistakes, which means that we have to make some of our own along the way.
- Get comfortable saying “no.” Not every opportunity is worthwhile. It took us a while to figure this out.
- Knowing the decision makers on top always helps. But having friends in low places is just as important.
- It’s not all about cash-flow, but it kind of is.
- Embrace your purpose as a company. Figure out how to contribute and uplift your community.
- Being scrappy is good and great, but only up to a certain point. Eventually you need to create systems and put processes in place to eliminate inefficiencies.
- Understand the motivations of the people that work with you. It’s not just about money.
- Ask for discounts. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
- Be open to advice, but don’t let anyone tell you how to run your own business.
- Surround yourself with people who believe in you.
- If you can, avoid asking anyone to co-sign a loan. Been there. It can get super awkward.
- Never apologize for selling a premium product at a premium price.
- Every founder’s story is unique. Learn how to tell that story.
- It’s not enough just to have your products available on Amazon. Figure out how to be profitable there.
- Experiment, learn, adjust, experiment, learn, adjust, so on and so forth.
- Figure out how to add value to the customers and accounts that support you. Your value proposition has to be more than just supplying a commodity.
- Don’t be a follower and do what everyone else in your category is doing. Consider the unconventional path.
- Seeking out investors isn’t your only option for securing growth capital. Nor is saddling yourself with debt. Secure a line of credit and shop around for competitive rates.
Founding and starting a business is a grand adventure and we’re incredibly grateful for every customer, partner and employee that has been a part of it thus far. Here’s to the next milestone!
Keep spreading the love,
Co-Founder & CEO