It’s been quite a ride.
We are a software development services company, bootstrapped by my own savings, and profitable after 2 months. We took this thing to $2MM over the first 12 months and established a nice kitty for ourselves. The last 6 months has not been as rewarding.
While we have grown our number of clients to 9, the gaps in the project work have created quite a challenge to know when to hire and when to subcontract. I liken it to knowing how deep the ocean is (the steady work) versus the crest and troughs of the waves (project work that comes and goes). This, of course, has a direct impact on who we hire and who we subcontract.
The problem is that our biggest client has become less reliant on us. We (really just me as the sole sales person) have failed at replacing that stream of revenue, and so the ocean has become shallower. This has forced us to terminate some of our core players. Terminating employees is a real challenge for a services organization because retaining people you trust to deliver, and who define your capabilities, is critical to your brand and sales process.
So here we stand. Me, 6 employees and two partnerships for subcontract work. Our waves our large and our depth is not deep enough.
I am confident that as more clients sign on and as those wave troughs either have shorter periods or overlap with other wave crests, we will be able to retain that core. Until then, it feels like and awful lot of churn / inefficiency; which unfortunately is also having a negative consequence on morale.
Maybe I’m just not a good surfer yet, or maybe I’m not cut out to surf.