My first month at Energize is in the books and I've been reflecting a lot on my time at Choose Energy as I think about the attributes of successful high-growth companies on the brink of market leadership. There will certainly be more moving forward, but two came to mind as low hanging fruit.
When a company is 20 or even 50 people in size, cross-function communication is easy. You likely see and know everyone on the team.
This begins to change around the 50-100 person mark and communication with other functions at the leadership level becomes essential.
A real world example illustrates this point. At Choose Energy, just like with a lot of businesses, we had months that were crucially important to our revenue numbers. Those same months were important to our competitors and so cost-of-acquisition increased meaning we were spending more to drive more volume.
As a result, we learned not to release any frontend changes to our marketplace because we could not risk lower conversion in times of high traffic.
In hindsight, this seems extremely obvious. Yet, I can promise you most engineers and product managers when left alone will build the roadmap the data tells them too without considering nuances like seasonality. Engineers are paid to build quality product and you have other functions for strategy - make sure they are all talking regularly!
Dollars Out -> Dollars In
Once a business begins to reach scale, financial operations become absolutely crucial. The earlier you begin to prioritize them, the easier it will be in the long run. Financial complexity compounds.
Some companies are pulled so fast by the market that things like a running cohort analysis seem tedious and unnecessary. However, if you want to create a repeatable, scalable customer acquisition engine it is critical to understand what makes a good customer and how much you are willing to spend to get them.
If these systems are put in place sub-10M ARR, they become habit and part of the fabric of your operations. Create good operational finance habits early.
Looking back, these insights seem really obvious, but in the moment almost none of them did until we executed on them.
When you're in the thick of building a rapidly growing business, it's easy to think success will always come naturally, but if you never take it for granted build systems that scale you'll be prepared for when it doesn't.