Dealing with success


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In one my previous articles I was writing about dealing with failure and that is indeed a hard dilemma for many businesses. In this article I’m going to talk about dealing with success. That is a good problem to have, I give you that, but it’s still nevertheless a problem.

The reason success can be a problem is because it catches most companies unprepared. Especially when you bootstrap small companies, success can be as simple as Google deciding, most of the time overnight, that you should be on page 1. Generally SEO (search engine optimization) is a slow and painful job, so the improvement in your traffic should be linear.

However, various studies have shown that the traffic corresponding to your position in google does not follow a linear relationship.
A linear relationship generally means that if 1st position brings 100 clicks, 2nd position should bring 90, 3rd – 80, 4th – 70, 5th – 60 and so on. That is just not the case. Instead, the relationship has been proven to be logarithmic.
So, if 1st position brings 1000 clicks, 2nd position only brings 100, 3rd only 10, 4th – 1, and that’s about it.

The point is, a change in your position in google can bring a lot of new business, a lot of customers, a lot more support calls or emails and yes, it will happen overnight. Dealing with that kind of instant success is not easy. You have to decide whether the success is likely to be sustainable and decide if you need to hire more people, buy more stock, get more equipment, hire contractors or freelancers and so on.

While it is a good problem to have, overnight growth can be challenging as it generally forces companies to expand more quickly then they really can. This puts pressure on existing employees and the company culture. Getting an influx of new employees that need training and need immersion in your existing culture is not easy, especially when you have to deal with a lot of new business.

Customer support is another problem. There will be all sorts of customers, customers who complain vocally, customers who need extra help as they can’t immediately get it, customers who are more technology savvy than others, and so on.

And all of that can go as quickly as it came, if Google decides to update its algorithms and all of the sudden your not number 1 for your keywords anymore. What do you do then? Fire all the people you have hired?

Dealing with success is definitely a much better problem to have than dealing with failure, but that does not mean it will be easier to deal with. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared by drawing up some plans on how you can scale up your business, should growth happen.


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