What will Kentico be like in 10 years? How many employees will we have in 2025? What product will we launch after Kentico Kontent? To answer such questions would be about as reliable as telling the weather from cows lying down. Having said that, we know exactly who we are, as well as where and why we are going.
Our industry and the market are changing incredibly fast. A large number of companies that, just a while ago, used to be market leaders, are in a completely different situation today. Some of them changed beyond recognition, others are on the brink of bankruptcy or non-existent altogether — remember Blackberry, Kodak or Nokia anyone?
In other words, it is virtually impossible to answer particular questions on what’s going to happen in a few years. At the same time though, a company without a vision would be the same as a vessel adrift without a helm. That’s not what we are. We know very well where the north is.
What do we want?
1) To be a marathon runner, not a sprinter
Numerous business owners just wait for the right opportunity. As soon as it arises, they seize it, launch a new product, mine it out completely…, and then sell the business. When they are done, they set up a new company or become investors.
Even though there is nothing wrong with such a life cycle, that’s not who we are or who we want to be. We don’t plan to embark on a rash journey towards higher revenues. Instead, we focus long-term on the one thing that we find meaningful and rewarding — content management is what we aim to excel at.
What is our imperative?
- Concentrate on what you love.
- Know all current trends and offer a considerably better solution that will help your customer.
- Repeat steps (1) and (2).
Do you also work in such a loop? Great! We believe it’s the best way to go. We aim to build a sustainable business where the aspiration is to improve an inch at the end of each cycle. Exit is not our goal.
2) To focus on the target and resist taking random opportunities
When doing well, companies are often tempted to extend their portfolios. They believe that the more they offer, the stronger they’ll be. It rarely ends well though. Their focus often becomes scattered, making it difficult to maintain excellent quality of services and products in all the respective areas. Think Apple before Steve Jobs returned.
We also experienced something similar in the past. After the immense success of Kentico CMS, we started enriching our portfolio by e-commerce, intranet, community and online marketing... It seemed to be an outstanding strategy to grow further. With maximum effort, we created an extensive solution that worked well. At the same time, however, we diverted our focus away from the very foundation of our business — content management. And the result? Our customers rated the product as “quite good”. Not good enough, is it?
We want to ensure to follow the right direction — towards the market where we can provide customers with a truly unique product which we are capable of improving continuously.
3) To innovate, not imitate
That brings us to the next point. Selling a good product is not the biggest added value a technological company can offer. After all, most SaaS solutions can be duplicated by crafty competitors. What’s most important is to always be a couple of steps ahead and come up with innovations that customers appreciate. Simply, to always offer something more, something extra.
4) To help millions of users, not just a few large customers
When I was writing my first apps, I found it fascinating how people reacted to them. I saw the apps save people time and make their work easier. I thought to myself, “Wow, I can really make people’s lives better by developing software!”
And that’s exactly the principle Kentico has always stuck to and always will. We want to create products that serve and help millions of people, not just a few corporate customers.
5) To be a compact, flexible company, not a corporation
I often come across this question, “When you were founding Kentico, could you imagine it would grow into a large corporation?” Seriously. I actually envisioned a small company of some 10 people, originally. But then we decided we wanted to offer a complex solution, an editorial system. For that, we needed more staff. To manage the development, support, sales, marketing, you name it. And that’s why we’ve grown — to be able to help our customers better.
Having said that, I would still like to keep Kentico as compact as possible. Huge corporations are hardly ever examples of excellence. As if there was a discrepancy between the increase in the number of positions in the office on the one hand, and the willingness to go the extra mile for the customer on the other. Honestly, you barely see a devoted enthusiast in the corridors of a large corporation. What’s more, as a business grows, the time needed to sync people piles up too, processes slow down, and that company gradually fails to respond flexibly to the changes in the market.
This is the reason why we prefer to work smartly and effectively instead of hiring more and more people. It’s not to save money. It’s because we want to enjoy the work we do, to cooperate as a tight-knit team, and to always be close to our customers.