Since starting Podia in late 2014, we've gone through dozens of iterations as a company. While the mission we set out with on day one — empowering creative entrepreneurs to make a living doing what they love — hasn't changed all that much, the strategy we pursue to get there changes constantly.
It's very easy for a company that has become successful to come back to the same playbook every year. Just focus on improving the product that got you here, and the same marketing that helped fuel your growth.
To me, phoning it in the surest way to slowly dig your own grave.
Not only are you creating an opening for innovative startups to pass you, but you're letting a culture of complacency seep into your company. Complacency is a silent killer that will spread like a virus across your team.
If your co-workers think that you're losing your innovative edge by taking on the same old challenges, they'll become less motivated to do outstanding work. The best people want to be constantly pushed to do better and be better.
There's a reason that "looking to the future" is one of Podia's four principles. We’ve been able to move the creator market forward in many ways over the last five years. Across the industry our work has influenced not only how other companies price their products, but the features they release, and how they market themselves. I’ve heard this first-hand from other founders and teams in our space.
Like many important lessons, I learned this one through my own painful experience. At a previous startup I founded, we became the leading brand in our space, and we let it make us complacent. We acted too slowly to innovate, and ended up losing market share to the more fast-moving and forward-looking startups who popped up all around us. We knew what the future looked like, but we didn't act quickly enough to position our business to thrive in it.
When you're in a new, growing market, the first handfuls of entrants will appear quickly, but will undoubtedly wash out along the way as they lose their hunger to innovate. Founders and top executives cash out and leave the company over time, and the business loses its spirit.
That's why every year, every quarter, every month, every week, I put pressure on myself and the team to continue to innovate and push our strategy forward.
It's been difficult during COVID-19 to innovate on our company's strategy as much as I'd have liked to. It has felt reactionary at times as I’ve focused on making sure I was there for my teammates and our customers during this trying time. So much was happening in the macro environment that we had to react to. That lasted for 18 months.
But late this summer, I forced myself to get back to thinking about the company's strategy and how we can continue to innovate in the new and growing creator economy. We have some big changes in our plans for 2022.
I'll leave you with this as a reminder to myself and to you: You must continuously change your company's strategy, or you will wake up one day, outpaced and outmatched, wishing you had taken the time to do so.