Decisions: Wendy Tan White - Moonfruit.com

The website design and build company founder on her best and worst decisions.

by Hannah Prevett
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

MY BEST ...

The decision to study computer science at university. At Imperial College there were just seven women on a course of 120 people. People ask me what it's like to be a woman in technology but I've worked in banks too and I find technology companies a lot more forward-thinking and supportive of women.

One of my best decisions was marrying my business partner Joe. He ran the web agency I used to work with when I was at Egg and when I first founded Moonfruit, and then we eventually merged the two companies. Joe has given me the most incredible support - both at my best and worst. During the dotcom boom, my co-founder Eric and I were real dotcom poster kids - we were all over the papers. And it's just as hard to be with someone as a partner in that situation as when things go wrong.

My best decision of all was to carry on after the dotcom bubble burst and we'd had to go from 60 people back down to two - just me and Eric. I even had to make my husband and mother-in-law redundant.

MY WORST ...

Were definitely at the beginning. We scaled too fast and too soon, both in terms of manpower and in terms of spend. At the beginning it's important to try and create a culture and a sustainable business and that breaks down very fast if you're not always the one hiring your own people. Scaling too fast also means the team don't have the chance to get to know each other and work together. Then, when you hit rough times, they don't know how to respond.

If you grow too fast and sales haven't caught up, you end up with a lot of people who don't have much to do. So you find all your time is taken up with managing people rather than actually running the business.

There were some errors in judgement when it came to marketing spend too. We spent $2m on TV advertising in our first year, when we barely even had a product. The ads were great: they drove traffic to our site, but there wasn't an awful lot people could do with our site once they got there. We are just about to invest in really heavy growth again - I wish I had that $2m now.

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