Sandesh Joshi | Crain's Raleigh Durham

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Sandesh Joshi

Background:  

Indovance, a leading computer-aided design outsourcing company that serves engineering and other firms of all sizes across the globe, helps growing companies meet their needs with scalable businesses solutions. North Carolina-based Indovance recently moved into a new office space in Apex to help bolster its global reach through the use of virtual equipment, and also expand its U.S.-based business.

The Mistake:

Not taking the chance to grow early on.

As I look back, the one thing I can think of that we, as a company, did wrong was not going after large clients early enough. We were working on smaller projects with smaller clients and, when we were ready, we’d go after the bigger projects. In some sense, I think we underestimated ourselves.

We probably lost two years of growth. We probably could have worked with larger clients two years earlier. That’s when we realized we were more than ready and more than capable. We realized that we were much better equipped than even our clients expected from us.

When we actually started working with larger clients, that’s when we realized that we shouldn’t have waited that long.

There’s always value to being early in the market.

The Lesson:

We could have grown our company much bigger and much faster.

There’s always value to being early in the market. We look back and could have had a bigger market share and more clients earlier on.

It’s hard to measure the exact cost of the mistake. It’s not just money, but it also affects other aspects of business. When you’re working with larger brands, it helps the company and the employee morale in attracting and retaining talent. There’s a multi-layer effect. It’s not a problem anymore, but we could have been there earlier than we were.

Essentially, we were underestimating ourselves as a company. Now, we go after the right market, the type of market you want to go after from day one and not any later. In fact, it was a positive surprise to everybody on the team who wanted to do this all along. The moment we decided to work with larger clients, the flood gates opened. Everybody on the team was excited to work with bigger clients and projects, and that energy turned into getting more and more clients.

My advice is to go out in the market and test your ideas, test the limitations in the market, rather than assuming anything or underestimating yourself. Go to the market, go to the customer and you will find out where you stand. Staying away from the market doesn’t help. Talk to customers – the right customers – as soon as possible.

Indovance is on Twitter at @Indovance.