Slow Growth Is Still Growth
I've long been a fan of Atlassian, and their approach to building a developer economy. I love that Mike Cannon-Bookes and Scott Farquhar bootstrapped Atlassian into existence. Today, thousands of profitable apps have been bootstrapped into existence atop Atlassian's Platform.
The DNA of Atlassian is in the DNA of each of the apps and businesses started atop their Platform. Aussie grit, determination, and self-sufficiency trickled down into the economy Scott and Mike built.
If you invest an hour and fourteen minutes of your life into Guy Raz's excellent interview with them, you'll quickly understand what made Atlassian successful. A focus on slow, patient growth.
In the early days, Mike and Scott needed to be patient. Thousands of miles way from Silicon Valley, with no money and only each other to rely on, slow, patient growth was the only option for them.
That's how they defined and refined their products, and their business model. Sure, they could have sold to more customers more often by hiring a sales team. That would have been a "fast growth" thing to do. Or, they could have spent time raising venture money from the get-go.
In the end, not doing either of those things - ironically due to a lack of time and money - forced them down a path to early, slow, sustainable profitability. A path to a $55 Billion market cap (as of today).
Compare this to, say, Theranos. Too much funding, too early, funding too much lore and not enough substance. There are - no doubt - more examples you and I can think of. Fast growth is not a given.
Slow growth is still growth. Founders should embrace it, and treat it like a long-term asset. It is.