Reflections on Growing Poparide from 250,000 to 500,000 Members

In January 2020 we published the article “Top 5 Learnings of Growing Poparide From 50,000 to 250,000 Members” reflecting on what we’d learned in our journey of having members in the six figures.

One month later, COVID-19 brought the world and our business screeching to a halt. Now, two years—and a global pandemic later, we’ve doubled again to 500,000 members. We thought it would be a good time to reflect on weathering the storm of the last two years and what we’ve learned as our members, business, and team have grown. 

If you are on a growth journey like ours, we hope this will inspire you to feel more grounded and normalize the rollercoaster of growing a business.

When sh*t hits the fan, take a breath

Who could have known that a global pandemic needed to be a possible risk in our business plan? If you had told us then, we wouldn’t have believed you… but here we are.

The Covid-19 pandemic was a true test of our resilience as a society, and as business leaders. We wrote about surviving the first year of Covid unaware that it would last another full year!

These two years proved to be some of the most challenging yet rewarding years of Poparide. We learned to slow down, stay calm, recalibrate and do our best to be kind, humble, and optimistic about the future.

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we think we can all swear to the truth of that statement.

Focus on where you can build value

Another side effect of getting hit by a global pandemic was to let go of what we couldn’t control and focus on where we could build value.

This is true beyond the pandemic. We know now that reading the signals of the market and consumers can help us focus on providing the right kind of value. At Poparide, this has meant focusing on improving our tech while building our team and culture—two things we could control—while waiting for the market to come back.

In a way, we’ve been able to make our own luck by being patient and acting on the natural flow of things instead of forcing projects to happen.

We are now in a much better place to scale our business than we would have been pre-pandemic, having used the last two years to prepare for growth. 

The pendulum always swings back

When times get tough, it’s easy to get into a negative mindset and think things will stay tough forever. We know this isn’t true, and the pendulum always swings back!

The unexpected post-pandemic environment with high inflation and soaring gas prices has actually helped us recover swiftly, creating exponential demand for Poparide.

We stay humble with the unprecedented growth we’ve experienced in the last six months, knowing it’s a result of strong market dynamics and that, eventually, the pendulum will swing back again. 

So we build our business with resilience in mind and room to budget for another rainy day (but hopefully not another year!).

Surround yourself with optimists

When you’re scaling a business, there are countless daily challenges, so it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who can see the path forward through all the obstacles.

Positive energy and a can-do attitude are built into our culture. We empower our team to provide constructive feedback and tangible solutions to problems to keep moving forwards. Creating these daily quick wins helps maintain a high team morale, feeding the long-term success of the team and our business.

Start something and own it

They say actions speak louder than words. We embrace this philosophy at Poparide and would rather have our team try things and fail than get stuck in endless discussions and inaction.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to start, but once you take that first step, it’s easier to continue. Starting something allows us to fail fast—assessing value quickly, gauging interest and scope, and breaking a project into bite-size, achievable pieces. We are decisive, so we don’t waste time on projects we can’t finish but focus on the ones we know provide value.

Keep thinking long term

As you’re growing, it’s easy to get stuck in the nitty-gritty details of everyday work and forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This is an ongoing challenge for us and we’re actively working on several initiatives to regularly remind ourselves why we do what we do.

Initiatives include highlighting the positive experiences of our members internally and externally, reporting monthly on how much carbon our community offsets through carpooling, organizing regular check-ins with our team to present company progress and more.

This allows our daily work to feed into our greater purpose of making travel more social, affordable and sustainable for everyone in Canada. 

Looking to past achievements can also help give us perspective on how much value we’re building over time—a hint of nostalgia never hurts! Sharing our quarterly investor updates, including the good, the bad, and the ugly, keeps us grounded. It’s a journey, and we embrace all of its imperfections!

How are you coping with growth?

We love to hear other people’s experiences in growing their own businesses, as we believe that shared knowledge is the best tool to success.

Are you also growing a business? Feel free to leave a comment below or to share with us on Instagram. We’d love to hear your insights!