This week has been another great reminder of the valuable lesson of doing things that do not scale.
There is a famous blog post by Paul Graham titled “Do Things that Don’t Scale” which I suggest you give a read if you haven’t read it before.
The post focuses on telling young companies to do things that don’t scale at the start. Here is an example, sending all your new clients a hand written welcome letter. Apple is huge, and Tim Cook can’t sit around and write letters like this all day. It’s hard to compete with Apple on quality, but you can compete on service.
For your small company, the differentiating factor often comes down to what you are doing for your clients to service them better than anyone else.
Doing things that don’t scale sounds counter intuitive however it makes total sense. If you go out of your way to make your existing or initial users super happy, you will one day have too many customers to do so much pleasing. That is a great problem to have. You can automate or better these manual processes later but use things that do not scale to get some initial growth and provide your unique personal touch.