Let’s be clear. Startups have the upper hand in the news nowadays: startup X is going to make a killing in that industry, startup Y is disrupting that market, startup Z is creating a new market that would change the world. Or is it because the media industry has found itself a topic that pays out well? Would it be possible that the startup ecosystem has still many things to learn from the old fashion industries?
When you are living in the Startup world, you think as you are building new strongholds every day. You label them with new words and new process. They then navigate to the Old world, filled with large corporate groups and traditional industries. They frighten managers and force them into becoming startup fans using buzzwords they can’t even understand: Big Data, Omnichannel, Growth Hacking, lean management, holacracy, agile process, startup culture and many others. That’s the startup world way.
That situation is a huge driver of change for corporates, period. They feel the chill of maybe losing their leadership position. I say maybe but it should be “eventually”. Eventually if they don’t do anything new and at the same time the challenging startups understand how to turn their small business into a scalable production line. Which Airbnb, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Uber and the likes have made it happen. For the rest of them it would be death or death-acquisition for all of those that can’t find out how to leverage their potential and create a world-class platform to provide their services.
To reach that point of success, startups would need to come to sense and learn to live in an old fashioned world with real-life issues:
- Management: what to do when the company is big enough to be silo-ed because of the many business units not talking to each other
- Politics: how to deal with the middle management that will not come because of the company startup values but for the potential benefits
- Large scale activities: dealing with a small market share enables to be reckless, aggressive, disruptive and agile, but it ends when you have market shares to lose when any implementations fail
- Recruitment: how to add non startup profiles into a fast growing company and adapt at the right pace not to lose both momentum and quality
The transition from the “new kids on the block” position to “a sustainable company candidate” is critical. 15 years have passed since the start of the dot.com world. Right on time for the startup nation to get out of the teenage age and learn a bit from adult companies that have been around from long ago. There are not so many available slots for totally new market companies, and such positions tend to be quickly filled. What’s left behind is small market business that both corporates and startups have to share. And traditional businesses have already learned enough to be faster and better than startups: they master anticipation, process, delivery, production lines, market analysis, are already funded.