Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
When you first get into business, you may think you need to build your business and turn a profit as fast as you can, but according to the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council, there’s certainly an argument — or at least 12 — to be made for slow growth.
While growing quickly may seem like the fastest way to reach success, slowing down and taking your time may actually be the key to long-term sustainability. Below, each member explains one reason why you should opt for growing slowly when building your business and why they believe that’s the best path for success.
Slow Growth Allows for Mistakes
Slow is sustainable. Slow allows you to make small mistakes so that you don’t have to make big mistakes. It’s all about timing and planning. You need to focus on the long term, but have a plan to get you through the short term, as the long term only matters if you make it there. – Graham Farrar, Glass House Brands
Building a Credible Reputation Takes Time
Reputation, reliability and even reviews don’t just happen overnight. Those are qualities in any industry that lend to your credibility as a business. Yes, it’s possible to begin turning over profits quickly, but it’s usually at the cost or exploitation of someone or something else. Smart entrepreneurs tend to look beyond that so that they can create a legacy, and sometimes that simply takes time. – Brandy Garcia, Cottonwood Wine Tours
A Business Needs a Solid Foundation First
Shining stars burn brightly, but they also burn out quickly. A slower approach allows one to build a solid foundation for longevity. A big, fast payout is incredibly tempting, but it seldom allows time to see flaws in the plan. The solid foundation is key. — Luanne Smith, Taboos & Transgressions
Business Ideas Need Time to Mature
One argument I’d make in favor of slow growth that most business ideas are premature at conception and are still in a sort of incubation stage. Starting a business, in my opinion, is like birthing a child. You may aspire for your child to be something that you’re passionate about, but until they’re mature enough to develop their own habits, attributes and patterns, you are just hoping. Time plus data equals profits. — Ryan Larry, Versebooks, Inc.
Being the Best Is Better Than Being the First
Do it right or don’t do it at all. So many times there’s pressure to be first to market, but isn’t it better sometimes to be the best rather than the first? Pause a moment and watch the competition. Let them flounder and fail while you learn from their mistakes. Then go to market with a perfected offering and staff who aren’t completely burned out. — Cate Rubenstein
With Speed, Someone Always Suffers
Someone always suffers in a system built too quickly. It could be workers producing components in less-than-ideal conditions, the consumer whose cheap fast-to-market product fails, the company itself facing social media review backlash or all of the above. Modern innovation isn’t just a great idea — it’s the ability to back that idea with sound ethical and environmental practices as well. — Jeffrey M. Zucker, Green Lion Partners
You Have to Be Mindful of Your Resources
Understand and conserve your resources. Whether it’s capital, logistical or human, your company can only work at the pace its resources will allow. Learning what pace is realistic for your company is key to long-term growth and survival. — Scott Thomas, Genetec Inc.
You’ll Be Able to Better Understand the Impact of Your Actions
Many indigenous cultures made choices by understanding how their decisions would affect the next seven generations. Slowing down can allow the company to understand how their actions will reverberate into future generations to leave this world better than we found it. – Philip Wolf, Cultivating Spirits
Slow Growth Allows You to Be Agile
When starting a business, especially if you’re a founder or solopreneur, you play all the roles. In my case, it was sales representative, account manager, bookkeeper, audio editor, writer, designer, etc. Growth cannot sustain itself without a foundation, and each wave of expansion will come with its own pains. Slow growth, especially at the beginning, allows you time to prepare, learn and be agile. – Ginni Saraswati, Ginni Media
It Gives You the Opportunity to Create Something Better
With every new customer, your ability to iterate on what you are delivering is challenged more and more. Your ability as a leader to see the fine details will diminish, and your time to spend on creative solutions and finesse them will decrease. Enjoy being small! It’s your best opportunity to create something better than what already exists in the market. — Michael Greig Thomas, Echo Base
It Gives You Time to Troubleshoot Issues
Slow and steady growth allows you to not only continue to supply a consistently great product, but it also gives you the time, space and energy to troubleshoot any issues that come up and really assess what is working, what isn’t and why and to adjust if need be. Too fast and it could all go up in flames. – Susan Johnston, New Media Film Festival®
It Allows You to Focus on Your Mission
Mission over profit is a good way to do business. It takes into account the well-being of a company’s employees and customers, but it can take time. That time is necessary to prove you’re doing what you said you’d do. You build trust by building a company that, through action, is maintaining its mission to its principles, which, in this climate, is becoming a consumer requirement for making money. – Stephanie Dillon, Stephanie Dillon Art