to scale or not to scale -self note

May 28, 2019

Today I am travelling to Vapi for a factory visit- print proofing one of my upcoming design project.
It’s about 3-4 hrs long journey and in the car we have interesting mix of people. I from purchase team of client 1 from packaging tec team of client and 1 brand manager 1 driver and me representing studioKD their design partner.
We all have good enough time to chat about our life stories our struggles... ups and downs and know about each other better. It’s is impressive to know each ones story and eye opener to how each one of us have a contrast and extremely inspiring story..... everyone is a hero and the energy in this car is immense encouraging.
I want to share one of the conversation that took my attention and a learning piece for me.
I spoke about my fear about scaling up my studio .... I don’t want to loose quality work that we are right now enjoying and fall into grind of earning money thru quantity work because quality might go on a toss. I am on the verge where I need more hands to work on a project ... there is a clear need to hire but I am afraid if I hire I will be having pressure of bringing in more quantity of work in future... and that MAY impact creativity.
The brand manager had an interesting point to make.
He said it’s not a problem with you only ... this apparently is a problem of business itself. Meaning have a look at any industry ..... any catagory .... the larger the team and larger the company.... there will be discomforts and little let go of quality say one compromises from 95 percent to 85 percent to keep it running. ( just like Mass product I thought) it can be designed generic but will have its limitations and gaps as it’s designed for all but not perfect for anyone .... when u define ur target sharper the product development can be sharper and perfect ... less chances of gaps in quality.
He gave an example of doctors working in hospital ... big hospitals have a lot of over heads to cover and hence they have some kind of protocols for doctors to proscribe / or charge a certain kind of high fees. It might sound a bit unethical for doctors to follow those protocols but they are important to keep the hospital running. This was a total eye opener for me. Yes a lot of things in business I find unethical ... and I have a huge mess in my head as I don’t want to bend and create my own rules to run my studio. There is nothing wrong in not willing to scale ....it’s a clear choice. Either focus on scaling and the business part and create a sellable giant brand or remain a small in numbers and be known for quality work. Both the sides have some level of compromise .... there is nothing right or wrong in choosing either part. And the best that seems to me is me running my own studio .... rather than employing MBAs to running it for me. Design centric business it is and will remain for me the same even if we grow in numbers I will not allow the grind to happen. That’s my self note .... this issue or fear that I have is a common problem in business and I need to deal with it smartly. How big is Big and how small is small is totally left for our imagination. So when I say I want to remain small u have no ideas what I have imagined for myself .... the small I am talking about is enough big too 😉

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