Capturing the entrepreneurial spirit of a progressive startup company can benefit businesses of all sizes. Even massive corporations can learn from upstarts that transcended their humble beginnings in home offices and meager corporate plazas to exceed investor expectations. Not everyone can make money hand over fist like a Facebook or eBay, but these wildly successful startups remind all business leaders, work at home moms, and direct sellers about what it takes to be successful in today’s digital business world. Here are ways to adopt a new startup mentality to freshen your business practices.
Channel Your Youth
Corporations tend to feel, well…corporate. The office can get stiff and the florescent light glare can be stifling. Companies with a startup mindset keep things light, fun and looking toward the future. Who can argue with having a pool table or video game setup in the break room? But it’s really more about fostering curious, collaborative thought to lead companies beyond mission statements and outdated methods. Forbes contributor Josh Linkner says “curiosity” tops his list of core philosophies that successful startups use to break the mold. Linkner should know. The venture capital firm leader helped orchestrate four startups in the last 20 years. The curiosity of young entrepreneurs or youthful thinkers can inspire and guide entire teams of people, especially when innovative thinking is paramount.
Personalize Products or Services
Startups have the remarkable ability to make their service more personal than corporate. Pandora, the personalized Internet music provider, has fostered a deep brand loyalty by maintaining the basic model of allowing end-users to control their experience with the product. The result, the company says, is end-users whose “musicological DNA” is available on their laptops, smartphones tablets and TVs. Inc. magazine says Pandora is slated to raise as much as $231 million this year in a new stock sale as it exceeds 50 million users. A company profile in The New York Times cited its “ability to harness intense loyalty from users” to grow from its humble inception of only $1.5 million in angel investment into an Internet behemoth.
Consider Your Model’s Evolution
Transitions with new technology require precision to succeed. In 2010, flower retailer FTD celebrated its 100th anniversary. What began around the turn of the 20th Century as an innovative fresh flowers delivery service startup has evolved today into one of the most tech-savvy home delivery brands. According to The Street, 95 percent of customers order flowers with FTD on their website. That success didn’t happen overnight. FTD explains that as more competitors entered their gift-giving market, it kept pace by offering partner florists “state-of-the-art technology modules such as delivery and accounting integration, gift card options and marketing solutions.” There’s a lesson there about how businesses should remember their roots.
‘Flatter’ Means More Creative
In a recent fastcompany.com article, branding and design specialist Emily Heyward says startups provide less corporate hierarchy. That means more opportunity for the higher-ups to join their peers in the creative process. Larger companies should keep this in mind. As Heyward says, the creative process of multiple approvals and dozens of meetings can seem like Chutes & Ladders in the office place. In today’s world, who has time to waste playing games? Companies of all sizes (including work at home moms with their own businesses) can take some of the ingredients that go into cooking up successful startups and apply them in their own workplace. Perhaps a little touch of startup spirit is just what it takes to solve a major corporate issue.