The Mistake General Assembly Made When It Scaled Too Quickly

CEO and co-founder Jake Schwartz learned the hard way that his company wasn't going to work in every country.
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Entrepreneurs continually strive to grow their businesses and expand into new areas. But Jake Schwartz, the CEO and co-founder of global education company General Assembly, learned a hard lesson when he scaled his business for the wrong reasons.

After successfully offering courses, including many for developers, in New York, London and San Francisco, expanding to Berlin seemed like a natural next step. But once they reached the city, Schwartz and his team realized that the country’s culture around education wasn’t what they expected. In Germany, most people don’t pay for education, and developers in the country make significantly less than those in the United States.

Related: A Framework for Expanding Your Business Internationally

"The equations that we had built the entire company on made no sense there,” Schwartz says in a video.

Before wasting any more time or money, General Assembly made the difficult decision to pull out of Berlin. “When you make a mistake, you are best served by acknowledging it as soon as possible and acting on it,” Schwartz advises.

Today, the company is more methodical, more careful and smarter about global expansion.

Watch the full story above. 

Edition: March 2017

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