Startup life is hard and draining. I know it, but that’s not enough to overlook when founders make bad decisions. As a someone who tries out new services and supports the ones that provide a real utility, when I start to use a service, it is disenchanting (heck, discouraging) when startups decide to suddenly cancel my account and move onto big clients. Let’s rewind for a bit: to get to a point where the startup can move past individual users to corporate clients, it has garnered the individual users’ social media power to help it to grow along the way. Yet, after signing a few corporate accounts, deciding to kick away their old faithfuls is a bit of an amateur move. I’m not saying that companies should not pivot business models or think about monetization. Those are real issues. But there is a clear line in the sand between keeping your current users who had used their social media power to get where you are and keeping them around on their accounts, and just shunning them for bigger fish.
In finance, we got a term for that and it isn’t pretty. I suggest that it is not only bad conscientious move, but, in the long run, a short-sighted business move. In startups, things can turn so quickly. How do you know your new (enterprise focused) model is going to scale and to what point will it plateau? Assuming that you do succeed in enterprise and remain independent, at the end of that road, do you go back to the consumer market to expand further? Why destroy amicable ties with your old faithful users when it is so often shown that good, conscientious businesses can outperform those without the same support and well-wishing from the community.
I think a song from J. Lo. says it all:
I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block.
Use to have a little, now I have a lot.
No matter where I go, I know where I came from.
Try to keep your old faithfuls and hold them tight.