The mantra “think big, act small” is often ascribed to some of the world’s biggest multinational firms. However, the sentiment has much to teach ambitious businesses focused on scaling up.
Whilst Dacxi is well beyond the “one man in his back-bedroom stage”, and with offices in 6 countries, we are now focused on delivering a “hockey stick” growth curve. I have had recent cause to reflect on how “think big, act small” should be a guiding principle for strategic decisions touching every part of the organisation.
The real challenge for scaling a business, with big ideas and a limited budget, is to make future-proof decisions. Often “think big, act small” is discussed in the context of operational issues. Every process you employ today, which occurs, say 3 times a day, needs to be able to factor up to do the same thing efficiently either 300 or 3000 times a day.
A good example of this is the customer service procedures which that Dacxi implemented from inception. Crypto exchanges are plagued with frankly appalling customer service, hiding behind the poor excuse of “digital-based offering”. I have personally waited up to 2 weeks for a response on a basic query from one of the world’s largest and most famous crypto exchanges – after 6 weeks I gave up and closed my account. I’ll be gracious enough not to name them, but I imagine they are praying that no-one looks too hard at the complaints log before they start the rumoured imminent IPO! Unusually, Dacxi is focused on the age group of 35-65, which, the FCA recently noted in their research paper of June 2020, is the fastest growing audience for crypto, who have rightly high expectations for customer service. Today, we believe we employ the largest customer service team per platform user of any crypto business. We intended to have a long, if not unlimited, client lifecycle and the integrity of that client relationship is key. It is no surprise to me that most crypto businesses see very low average account levels (typically around £100) and that the cost of client acquisition often proves unviable.
More importantly, thinking big but acting small, should be a cultural premise for any successful business. Fintech investment platforms, and crypto specifically, is a crowded marketplace, and all companies need continual improvement and radical continuous change. As a relatively small organisation with huge ambitions, in our case to create the world’s largest crowd-crypto business, this can sometimes feel daunting.
Massive goals must be broken down into smaller bite sized projects, which empowers individuals to take small actions that can lead to big overall impact. As a business we often have 10 to 12 large cross-functional projects in play at any one time, and keeping a large number of plates spinning is challenging. We have a fortnightly global meet with compulsory attendance for every team member globally to keep track of key metrics to be communicated across the entire business. Our offices are split across 6 time zones, so a scheduled two hour meeting for the UK team starting at 10pm is a big ask, but crucial for keeping large projects on track.
Clearly having a motivated team, and buy in across the business for key strategic aims is crucial. Disappointingly, I have worked in businesses crippled by brilliant ideas persuasively argued over some beautifully complex powerpoint decks, never to be implemented, frozen by indecision and inaction. Time kills all good ideas, and many a good business has been annihilated through stasis. Any committed capitalist will argue that the free market creates an environment of “adapt or die”, and the huge strength for an agile fintech should be able to ability to fail hard and fast. Often just getting approval (and cross functional support) to start a project feels like a mammoth task, and too often “perfect” can be the enemy of “significant improvement”!
For tech entrepreneurs therefore, I would therefore provide a modest update of what has clearly proven to be a useful guiding principle; to encourage ambitious businesses to think big, act small, and – crucially – move fast.
In next week’s blog: Why Community is King!
Adventures of a unicorn is a business blog documenting the daily life of tech startup in hypergrowth. Dacxi is a unique crypto business in the crowd lending space.
All views expressed in this blog are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.