Last night I had a very interesting conversation on where the line is drawn between producing a quality product and maximizing profitability. Believe it or not (software, MSP, IT Solution Provider, SPF) there is a tradeoff between perfection and profitability – the better you try to get your product, the more it costs and less it makes because it diverts money from sales and marketing efforts to make a better product that fewer people will buy.
But where is the line? Let’s for a moment forget the beta culture most of us younger entrepreneurs have brought up in and assume that there is a happy place between shipping shit for money and burning the midnight oil checking all the t’s and dotting the i’s.
The question is: Where is the line and how do you find it?
I don’t have an answer, earlier in my career when I was very close to the product development and support I spent far more time focusing on perfection but we made a lot less money. I worked very hard and we grew slowly and patiently – but we didn’t take it to that “next level” until I focused on the product distribution and growing the scale of what we do here. In the end, we’re able to deliver a product that has a higher quality and reliability with a better profit margin.
One piece of advice I have for people that are just starting up is to focus on building the business, not the products. You can always hire amazing people and build amazing things – once you’ve got the money. The line between where you can be proud of your solution and run a profitable business – that I don’t know. I’m proud of what we’ve build and what we deliver but I also know at least a dozen holes that we’re working on and I have another 200 that I haven’t even thought of yet. But by the time I perfect ExchangeDefender there won’t be any SPAM around to block anymore 🙂