Managing company growth
In this video about the questions raised by the growth of a its company, Mike Koedinger tells us about:
- where to start
- how to deal with growth
- how to make it sustainable
- the main challenge
Mike Koedinger is the founder of Maison Moderne, the leading independent media company in Luxembourg, since 1994. Find him on maisonmoderne.com.
Subtitles are in english and french.
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Transcription de l'intervention de Mike Koedinger
Where to start?
At the company’s beginning there was Explorator, an annual guide about restaurants, after which came a small monthly publication called nightlife.lu that covered Luxembourg’s urban, culture and night scenes. So, we shifted from annual to monthly, which was a big change. We were very successful. Within a few years, we had 30,000 known readers, residentially. So it was a huge success. But after a while… when I turned 30, I decided I should take interest in more than urban living, nightlife… and restaurants! So, with Paperjam, I started into the world of business and economy. At the time, we had a strong focus on new technologies, and the internet. It was kind of the first wave of all that. We quickly realized there were two main lines: one lifestyle, culture and restaurants and the other business and technology. And for both of those lines, we ended up with an annual publication, a monthly publication, a website, newsletters and even events. So from the very beginning, and even though it hadn’t been formalized as our strategy, we had two very clear lines with all the distribution channels backing them. Looking at it today, you could think it was planned that way, that it was our strategy, but it was more the people we met, our market insight, feedback from clients and readers that led us from one thing to the next.
How to deal with growth?
It’s always hard to have your focus on operations, preparing an upcoming issue, a new project… in our case, it was always new projects, all at once. Dealing with operations at team level, for recruitment, partnerships… and looking to the future, establishing a strategy then overseeing it’s implementation, being there to give it a boost when it starts to drag. And when you’re in operations and you’re also the one pushing for things to happen, monitoring becomes very difficult. So I think the difficulty of recruiting and the difficulty of taking stock are what make it hard to move forward fast enough. And maybe that’s what takes too much time. It takes the time it takes. But as an entrepreneur, it can make you nervous and hinder your progress.
How to make it sustainable?
I think it needs to be done in steps: first you need a business model that will hold up over time, you have to stay in touch with the changing expectations of stakeholders. You have to remember that the world changes and that what’s true today may not be tomorrow. So if you’re not able to hear what’s being said, people will look elsewhere. That’s the first thing: your company needs an economic reason to exist and make profit. It’s also important for the founder’s passion to drive the company. But there has to be more driving the company than just that passion. It takes strong leadership, motivated employees, staff that understands the company’s purpose, and where it wants to go, so that needs to be shared.
The main challenge?
The main challenge today is to stay focused on what you want to do… on what you want to achieve within 5 year, within 10 years… Remember where you want to be at that point, and not get distracted by things that could be done in the next 3 to 6 months, and surely not by tomorrow or the day after.