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Case study: a company that grew too fast

There is a danger to growing your business too fast. In this article, Chris Hope examines a business that grew too fast and failed as a result.

Let’s look at a notable example of a company that experienced rapid growth and eventually failed as a result. Founded in 1998, aimed to capitalise on the growing e-commerce market and the increasing demand for pet-related products[1].

Pets dot com website Above: screenshot of in March 2000 from the Wayback Machine[2]

At its peak, the company gained significant attention through a memorable and widely recognised marketing campaign featuring a sock puppet mascot. The company quickly gained popularity and attracted substantial investments, including partnerships with major retail and distribution players.

However, it encountered numerous challenges due to its rapid expansion. Despite its initial success, the company struggled with fundamental issues such as high operational costs, pricing challenges and an inefficient supply chain. The amount of customer orders put significant pressure on this supply chain leading to its collapse. Additionally, the pet supply industry proved to be highly competitive, with low-profit margins and the need for substantial investments in inventory and distribution. faced difficulties in maintaining profitability and fulfilling customer orders while keeping prices competitive. The company also invested heavily in marketing and advertising to maintain its brand visibility. Unfortunately, these factors combined with the overall unprofitability of the business model, eventually led to the company’s downfall.

In November 2000, just two years after its launch, filed for bankruptcy and subsequently shut down its operations. Despite its early success and widespread recognition, the company was unable to overcome the challenges associated with rapid growth, unsustainable business practices, and a competitive market landscape.

This serves as a cautionary tale for companies experiencing rapid growth. It highlights the importance of strategic planning, sustainable business models, and careful consideration of market dynamics. It is crucial for businesses to maintain a balance between growth and stability, ensuring that operational infrastructure, supply chains, and financial resources can support expansion without compromising long-term viability. When considering your own business idea, remember that growth is great, but if it happens too quickly it can become a major issue.


1. Beattie A. Why Did Crash So Drastically? [Internet]. Investopedia; 2021 Oct 21 [cited 2023 Jun 30]. Available from:

2. Wayback Machine. : Home Page [Internet]. Internet Acrhive; 2000 Mar 1 [cited 2023 Jul 27]. Available from:

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