How to Keep Up With Demand: Customer vs. Skill Demand

One problem we often hear from small business owners is "I'm having trouble keeping up with demand". The business owner is typically talking about two types of demand: customer demand and skill set demand. Experienced small business owner can usually get their arms around customer demand. However, when their business demands new skill sets this can cause a lot of ongoing stress for the business owner. They may start to wonder if they are still the right person to run the business. We hear how this self doubt prevents them from sleeping or how it negatively affects their relationship with co-workers and family members. It is a genuine fear and a real problem. The skill set that is required to get a business from $0–5 million in revenue is often different from the skill set to get a business from $5–10 million. The business owner is not sure if they have what it takes to get their business to that next level. They often have spent 10–20 years working very hard to get the business where it is. They don't want to screw it up and let down their employees and customers.

Hadley Capital has had a lot of success in helping small business owners that are struggling with this problem. We like this situation for three reasons: 1) overwhelming demand is a good sign that the entrepreneur has found product/market fit  2) we have the experience and skills to help the entrepreneur manage through this phase of the business and 3) we can give the business owner some liquidity and they can remain involved in the the business. This type of liquidity event can lower the business owner's overall risk while increasing their risk appetite to go after new opportunities.

We have helped many of our portfolio companies deal with the challenges of growth. We help them get the right systems and people in place so the business can embrace the growth and manage through it. If you are entrepreneur feeling overwhelmed by demand for your product or service, please reach out to to us. We would love to talk.


Scott Dickes – Member of the General Partner

Scott is a member of the General Partner of Hadley Capital and Managing Partner of 1719 Partners.

Scott holds a BA from Duke University and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Scott and his wife Erin have two grown children.