The elements–water, fire, earth and air–are reflected everywhere, for example in landscaping, architecture, martial arts and in many different philosophies. In my new blog series, we’re looking at how they are reflected in sales. In this edition we continue with another view on water.
In the last blog in this series we talked about how, when you’re building a company, you can be taken unawares by a sudden burst of leads–much like a levee breaking from an overflowing river. But now let’s talk about preparing for a real flood–or not so much a flood as perhaps a rising tide.
First, let’s take a look at the growth in world population. If you do, you’ll see that in the year 700 the Earth had around 200 million people. 1,000 years later we’d only made it up to 600 million. But we skip ahead another 200 years to the year I was born, 1961, and we had ramped up to 3 billion. Today we’re up to 7.5 billion, and there are 250,000 people coming into the world every day.
Given these kinds of figures, it’s no surprise that Apple has experienced the kind of growth it has. It’s not just the popularity of the iPhone–it’s that the world population has grown so much, and everybody wants one.
I witnessed firsthand what can happen when real growth takes hold, back in 2001 with my company uptime iTechnology, developer of the World-Check financial risk intelligence platform. Shortly after 9/11, President George W. Bush announced the names of the top wanted terrorists, and people began to realize that World-Check had the names of more terrorists than any other system in the world, including that of the CIA, the FBI and Scotland Yard. It brought an enormous amount of attention to World-Check. That was its big breakthrough, and it eventually sold to Thomson-Reuters for $520 million.
Prepare to Scale
You have to be prepared to scale. Only when you can successfully do so can you reap the real rewards of Trade: created wealth, and peace.
A historical example of powerful trade successfully scaled is the Republic of Venice, which was composed of several trading family dynasties. They were a leading economic trading power for 1,000 years. They scaled up to a very stable–and peaceful–infrastructure that encompassed the Silk Road and all the spice trading that went on between Europe and Asia. They had a virtual monopoly on these before the rise of ships and trading across oceans made Venice obsolete.
The Idea Whose Time…
If you have something that will appeal to the whole world, you have to scale. You could be running a local business like the great pizzeria we have in Pacific Palisades, the Beach Cafe. They do a decent amount of business, but it’s local. But if you have a product that could potentially impact hundreds of millions of people, scaling is your only answer.
If you have an application that has the potential to interest every human being, and you had downloads from just 10 percent of the world’s population, that would be over 700 million people. Very few could handle that kind of traffic.
Smartphones have stably built up and will probably be around for at least several more years. Fads are another matter, and can go in both directions rather quickly. You’ve probably heard of fidget spinners. A year ago, nobody knew about them. Recently I was on vacation in Vienna and saw them literally everywhere. Next year, like most fads, they will probably be gone. The fidget spinner is a great example of the need to fulfill an immediate demand–otherwise that demand will dry up and be gone and you’ve missed the opportunity.
Besides Apple, there is another company that is a shining example of handling unbelievable growth with scalability: Google. Their real growth began in 2004 when they went public. If you were one of the fortunates that thought to purchase their stock at that time, it was $50 a share. Today it is at $927. If you had invested $10,000 right at the beginning and left it alone, taking stock splits into account, today you would have in excess of $2 million.
How many companies are really that successful? Very few could scale that way. What do companies do wrong when they don’t make it? That’s the subject for another article.
But in terms of those that do make it, let’s end with a famous quote from Victor Hugo: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
That idea could be yours. So prepare, and scale! Apple did. Google did. So should you.
What issues have you encountered in scaling, or what have been your successes? Leave a comment and let us know!
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