How Can Startups Surpass Larger Brands?
Isadora Teich wrote this article
Entrepreneurs don’t begin startups for no reason. They are often passionate people willing to work incredibly hard to do something that may have never been done before.
It’s no secret that this is a difficult task. One big roadblock is the seemingly total dominance that large corporations, some of which began decades ago, already have.
As a new guy in an industry of established giants, how can startups get ahead of the competition?
Let’s take a look!
Have A Clear Objective
In the world of startups and venture capital, elevator pitches are a popular topic. There is a good reason why. Sometimes you might have less than a minute to get someone interested in and excited about in your company.
Getting funding is so competitive that having a good pitch is key. The US also has the most startups in the world currently, with over 60,000. Keep in mind that more pop up every day. If all of these companies try to get VC funding, statistically, less than 5% will do so.
However, beyond pitching, knowing exactly what you do is critical for the trajectory of your business. It will define everything your company culture, to your longterm goals, to your daily operations. A great example of this is Google.
From the day Google launched in 1998, their mission statement has been this exactly:
“To enable access to the world’s information in just one click. ”
Defining And Staying True To Your Objectives
Here are some things you can do to clarify your objectives as a company. Think about everything you want to accomplish in the next year. Write all of it down. Then work on prioritizing key goals and refining them.
Especially if you are a small company, having dozens and dozens of disconnected goals might be more harmful than helpful.
Remember, large corporations likely have more people on their HR team alone than you have to do everything that your business requires.
Again, most startups are helmed by deeply passionate and creative people who want to succeed and make a difference in the world.
However, it is no secret that this type of person can overextend themselves at times. Do the most you can with what you have by developing a strong focus.
This can mean putting all of your energy into only one or two goals at a time, and even ignoring trends if they don’t align with the goals and messaging of your brand.
When in doubt, put it all on paper!
Understand Your Strengths
If you ever feel discouraged trying to stand against large established companies and corporations, it is important to keep one thing in mind. There are actually a lot of things that smaller businesses simply do better.
Startups and small businesses actually drive about half of all economic growth in the US. Despite having way fewer resources and less manpower, they create more jobs, innovate more effectively, and do more to push society forward than almost any large corporation.
Why is this?
Startups are simply closer to the people that they serve.
Instead of every idea having to be approved by multiple teams of people, startups can simply hear about a problem from customers, or directly experience a problem out in the world, and immediately get to work solving it.
The MAJORITY Example
2-year-old FinTech startup MAJORITY is an excellent example of a startup with a clear goal, created by someone who knew exactly what they wanted to do, because they had lived it.
MAJORITY is a company that makes navigating the US financial system simpler for recent immigrants. For $5 a month, users get a bank account with no overdraft fees or minimums, a Visa prepaid card, low-cost international phone calls, and instant free international money transfers. Users also have access to 55,000 US ATMS.
It was founded by Magnus Larsson, who explained his inspiration behind MAJORITY:
“I come from Sweden, a rich country. I speak fairly good English. And still, I faced a lot of issues. I couldn’t imagine the problems people from other countries faced. I saw the need to build something that solves the problems you have when you’re not from the country you’re trying to succeed in.”
Put People First
This sounds obvious, but it’s a lot more complicated than many people think. Good business only thrives on a foundation of good relationships. This can include relationships with employees, team members, consultants, investors, customers, and clients.
On a small level, if two people found a startup together, and their relationship disintegrates, it’s unlikely that the business will survive.
On a slightly larger level, if your team is unhappy, they will likely leave or do less than excellent work. It is often hard to hide this from clients, customers, and potential collaborators for very long.
Embrace The Art of the Backup Plan
It’s no secret that founding startups comes with some risk. Even the most extensively prepared plans can not work out sometimes.
In fact, a big trap some entrepreneurs fall into is creating a plan, getting incredibly invested in the plan, and refusing to deviate from it regardless of circumstance.
Here is where you circle back to your written out list of objectives. Those are the most important things above all. If something you are doing is getting in the way of them, stop doing it. Move on.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Remember, what matters most is that you achieve your goals and stay true to your company’s vision. One of the biggest advantages small businesses have over large ones is the ability to react quickly and pivot accordingly.
This is because there is no rulebook that young startups have to follow. They can do what needs to be done without much bureaucracy.
Many entrepreneurs start their own ventures because they love having so much possibility at their fingertips. So, don’t impose limits on yourself, especially if they are ones that you can control and change.
Ultimately, succeeding in the world of startups is no easy task with a straightforward path to follow. This is what makes it stressful and unpredictable, but also what makes it fascinating and potentially fantastically lucrative.
You have the opportunity to define your mission and your method on your own terms. You can see something that people need and provide it quickly.
Generally, startups are the first to tackle modern problems with smart solutions and improve lives globally.
So, move forward with confidence, clarity, and an open mind to take on the world!
About ChopDawg.com: Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.
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