Hittin’ Doubles — Why Every Idea Isn’t A Million Dollar Idea

Every idea isn’t a million dollar idea, and here’s what I mean:

I’ve worked for a number of companies that wanted to grow their concept so there was billions in revenue, thousands of employees. Growing an idea to that size is not only a once in a lifetime experience, the idea has to be so good that millions of people have to buy into it. Google, sure. Microsoft, they’re involved in 90 percent of a market or something like that. Apple, why not — they produce products that sell in the millions.

Companies like Stamps.com (where I worked)? No. When I worked there, we were aiming for the stars, but the actual (read: profitable) market for it was in the $20 to $30 million dollar range. They did layoffs, refocused their management, and swung for a double instead of a home run.

Guess what — they’ve been profitable enough over the past few quarters to net $2 to $5 million a quarter. Not huge, but considering the last quarter was a 33 percent more revenue then expenses, it’s working.

Sometimes we buy into that with the clients, and what we really should be telling them that doubles are okay, as long as they are focused with their ideas.

BaseCamp has a great article about how they are hittin’ for doubles by finding the natural size of their company around a solid product that is good, but not a home run idea and fills a very specific niche. That takes a lot of courage. Good luck to them.

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