I don't know how to prioritize and then resolve all the issues we're facing now that we're growing

We had just reached $1M in sales, a major milestone for us. We weren’t quite making a profit and cash continued to be an issue, but we had over 50 units installed and operating and our customer base was growing.

Now, we faced a series of decisions:

  1. Do we invest in new equipment allowing us to double capacity? Inflation is 9% and the currency is unstable, so it would be cheaper to buy now.
  2. Do we introduce a new produce line? This would mean more machine downtime and the changeover time would cost us money.
  3. Do we add a night shift?
  4. Do we increase the sales force? We now have three people: one has sold $600K, one $240K, and one $200K. It takes about a year for a sales person to reach $200K. We don’t know the maximum one person can sell.
  5. Do we open a new plant closer to the growing markets?

How do we figure out how to prioritize then answer these questions? We don’t have the expertise in-house or money to hire a consultant.

Investors don't agree with my strategy. What should I do?

A new market for overnight accommodation was opening up. This was based on privately owned guesthouses, which aren’t centrally organized. The size of the market was huge – almost a million rooms per night.

The first mover’s strategy was growth at any cost. They got to 500 rooms pers night within a year, but their burn rate was very high. They secured funding from a Silicon Valley VC and were losing on each transaction.

When I built my financial models, I easily saw what they were doing but couldn’t see any way to stop the massive cash outflow within five years. The marketing costs and costs of acquisition exceeded income by three times, even after five years.

I had two choices: do what the first mover was doing, but faster and better or find some form of differentiation. I chose the latter. When I presented my strategy, the first investors said I wasn’t growing fast enough and they weren’t impressed by my arguments that growth at any cost wasn’t viable in the long-term.

What should I do? Accept the money on their conditions? Wait for another investor? Or do more work and find another strategy?