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Hitting the Sweet Spot

In the five years we've been running Jimdo, Fridtjof, Christian and I have discovered something quite interesting: there is a sweet spot in entrepreneurship. When we got started, we could hardly feel it. Now, we're hitting it more often. One thing's for sure: once you've felt it, you'll want to get back in the groove.


hitting the sweet spot Photo: via Flickr Commons


What's a sweet spot, anyway?

A sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort. In tennis, baseball, or cricket, a given swing will result in a more powerful hit if the ball strikes the racquet or bat on the latter's sweet spot. >> Wikipedia


I used to play tennis as a kid, and finding the sweet spot on my raquet was a hit or miss, once-in-a-while thing, more miss than hit. When I did get it though, boy, the ball would go flying over the net and it was almost always a winner. The moment the ball touches the raquet you know you hit it - and you get a jolt of pure joy just flowing through your body. As I got to be a better player, I was able to hit the sweet spot more often. The surge of joy fades quickly enough, so I tried harder and harder to get it.


We realized that with entrepreneurship, it's basically the same thing. The sweet spot for us is when there are no major issues anywhere in the company, everyone is working effectively on the right projects and things just seem to get done. There's lot's of enthusiasm and a feeling we're onto something very big.


When you first start your company, the sweet spot feels like a faraway dream. There may be some positive press coverage in the first weeks after the launch, giving you a faint sense of what the sweet spot feels like. But usually, problems start to come up around the same time. Predictably, initial growth will cool off right when other difficulties pick up: team building, keeping the product development process at high speed, infrastructure issues. It's like a kid playing tennis: occasionally you hit the sweet spot but it's more by accident than skill.


Then you start solving the major issues, start learning about your market and really building the company. You get better at hitting the sweet spot.


Sooner or later, up comes the mother of all sweet spots: you wake up to find that your product and your business model really work! Time to do a happy dance.


For us, that moment was when we parted ways with United Internet (1&1). Leading up to Jimdependence Day, as we call it, we had concentrated all our effort on growing the business. We were bound and determined to make Jimdo profitable by the time we bought back our shares. The entire team to a man worked towards this goal -- and we succeeded. User growth rose sharply, and by the time we signed the 'divorce papers', Jimdo was profitable. With profitability came the realization that we were really building a large-scale business on our own steam. Truly a 'hell yeah' moment.


To the entrepreneurs out there: if you expect to hit the sweet-spot every time, think again. Things are not guaranteed 'all the time' - that's the nature of a fast-growing company. But if you stay focused, you'll hit that spot again, and keep hitting it. You're an entrepreneur; it's part of your nature and you can't resist.


Matthias Henze

Matthias Henze

Co-founder at Jimdo


Matthias studied at the University of Kiel and the University of Gothenburg and then went into business with Fridtjof and Christian to start Jimdo. Matthias takes care of Jimdo's marketing. In his free time, you can find him hang gliding.