Growing RunSignUp

Growing Too FastIt’s no secret that RunSignUp is growing very, very fast.  Which is great, unless you run into the problem in the graphic on the right.

I’m pretty lucky to have been thru a number of fast growth companies.  Mostly successful, but also some big scars that help me remember as we make our path forward.

Since a lot of race directors, timers and clubs are putting more and more of their faith in us, I thought it was worthwhile to let you know some of the guidelines we follow and some of the strategies we are able to employ to make sure we aren’t running off of a cliff.

Focus. We only do running (well some tri’s as well, but you get what I mean).  This has a lot of advantages.  We can talk a certain language that all of our employees and customers and their customers know.  When we solve a problem, it can be specific.  We don’t have to think about it across multiple domains.

Great People with Personal Responsibility.  We are blessed to have a really, really strong team of people.  They are not only good at what they do, they also feel personal responsibility to try to build the best software or provide the best customer service.  This means there is a strong internal drive and motivation of everyone in this company.

Efficiency.  We are trying to build a self-serve system at every level.  Of course we love helping our customers, but we do not want to build anything for only one customer. Everything we build has to be generic and applied to other customers.  And our goal is to make things so easy that people don’t have to interact with us – thus keeping our costs low and your experience positive.

Build for the Future.  We are currently re-writing a major part of our original system, the Wizard.  It has worked for thousands of races, so why change it?  Because there are approaches we have learned that will make this better for the future.

Take Time.  We were asked by a customer why we weren’t bigger?  Our reply is that we are taking our time.  I see a number of companies that have pushed too hard on sales growth and not enough on building a solid foundation.  Last year we undertook a huge Scalability and Availability project.  This makes us the best platform by far for large scale races.  But we don’t have them yet, and I expect it to take another year or two before they realize what we have and start using us.  Our preference is to be ready and let the business come to us.

We Aren’t Perfect.  Our system is harder than it should be in some areas.  We have bugs.  We sometimes frustrate our customers.  Admit it, figure out the problem and build so that you can minimize that in the future.  Like our availability – we crashed several times in the first half of 2012.  We’ve been on a hot streak lately, but I know that will end at some point.  When it does we will figure out the cause and fix it.  Same thing for customer support.  If we get too many questions of the same type, we build a video to show people how to do it, or we update the code.  Right now, I know we can do Competitive Teams better after the new things we did with Corporate Teams – so we are going to re-write some of that code and provide better functionality.

Technology Leaders.  Most of our customers don’t like technology or want to worry about it.  But it is critical.  29% of our users come to our service via a mobile device.  One race has 47% of their participants signing up on mobile devices.  Our customers need to offer a mobile experience to their users and it should be transparent.  But that does not happen unless we are out ahead of the curve on technology.

Have Fun.  We are out in the open that we love technology and running.  And for us, this is fun!

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