A customer of ours recently sent me an article about another construction project management software (competitor) that had just closed a big round of funding. The email said, "Steve, why aren't you doing this? They should be investing in Owner Insite because your product is so much better than theirs!"
Coming from a customer that meant a lot. For one, the fact they think we are better than this competitor (which we are) makes my heart swell with pride and appreciation. And two, that they think enough of us to look out for us in this manner.
The simple fact is we're not trying to build a big conglomerate here. We don't want to be as big as most of our competitors and we're certainly not trying to build something to sell as a rollup to a larger organization like many of competitors are (desperately) trying to do.
Nope, we want to be different than most other construction project management software in the market today. Way different.
Here's what I told my customer and it summarizes the reasons for not trying to keep up with the Joneses and do a big capital raise so we can grow faster/bigger.
The minute our company takes money, we no longer work for our customers, we start having to work for our investors.
Investors want hyper-growth so they can maximize their investment and likely spin us off to some other investment group. That means the focus becomes about getting a lot more customers by any means necessary which, predictably, grows revenue and gets them closer to the endgame of a big cash-out or acquisition by a competitor.
Do they care if customers are getting personal attention which is a mark of our entire Owner Insite approach? Nope. They don't want a company they invest in doing that because that level of personalized service impedes growth and slows their payday.
Not to mislead anyone, investors do care about happy customers because that is what propels growth, but for a company like ours, that requires changing our entire corporate DNA. It means hiring tons of people to grow the market and take the "sell to the masses" approach that so many project management software companies do.
That's just not interesting to us.
We are focused on delivering a unique and powerful software that is way more engaging and involved than just signing up customers in mass. Not that I am against companies that build their models scaling like that, I just know from personal experience that those models treat their customers like a number instead of real humans. We never want to be that.
Does that mean we aren't ever going to be as big as the "other" guys. Probably.
Do we care. Not one bit.
Our goal is to build partnerships with our customers, not simply sell software.
Does that limit our prospects for success? Define success. If success for you means charging outrageous prices for software that isn't any better than our offering, maybe. If however, it means happy school districts, healthcare organizations, project management firms and project owners would rather have the personal touch we offer, well then we are already successful.
No, we don't want to be Goliath. We'd rather be David. We'll just keep showing up every day to keep making killer owner-focused construction project management software that your entire construction team will enjoy using.