Alternate non-catchy title: Why growing a small to medium sized web service business is hard and what we did that we think helped
At its traditional core a service company is a difficult beast. To grow, and thus make more money, you can either work more hours, bill more per hour, or both. There are never the magical infinite returns that a product company, specifically a software product company, can make.
In the mid to late nineties one popular way to get around this was to hire more people and therefore have more billable hours. Some of the major web shops in the late nineties had hundreds or thousands of people working for them (i.e. Razorfish). The problem was that you then got into birthdays every week, gendered bathrooms, sexual harassment seminars, and the ever dreaded “human resources” department. Soon enough you have boring company picnics, stupid unconnected bosses, and a revolving door of staff. Oh, and the quality of the work started to reflect the bureaucracy of the firm.
If you want to grow your business but don’t want to manage a billion web monkeys here are some things we’ve learned over the years that may help.