Imagine a strategic move that would ignite innovation, unlock substantial competitive advantages, and take your development of new products and services to the next level!
Get ready as we explore the untapped potential of embracing a startup mentality in your existing business to make it possible.
Conventional Business Challenges
In today’s ever-changing business landscape, uncertainty has become the new norm.
The rapid evolution of technology, intensified global competition, and agile startups quickly dominating niche markets have reshaped the realm of business, introducing unpredictability at every turn.
Furthermore, traditional businesses often face internal challenges with outdated legacy systems and more complex management structures, resulting in slow decision-making and a reluctance to change.
When a company prioritises risk aversion above innovation, future growth is in jeopardy.
Existing companies must find a way to compete with their agile startup competitors or risk going the way of the dinosaurs.
Established Business Advantages
In reality, an established business often holds significant advantages over a startup competitor across various aspects. These can include:
- Strong Market Knowledge and Established Customer Base
- Brand Recognition with a Trusted Reputation
- Well-Established Supplier Relationships
- Financial Stability and Access to Resources
- Extensive Operational Experience, and
- Understanding of Industry Regulations and Compliance
Trouble is, many approach innovation and new product or service development the same old way as they have done for years, and this is where the issues begin.
There is a better way.
Embracing a Startup Mentality to fast-track Growth
What happens when we flip the script? When older organisations borrow a page from the startup playbook?
Startups are nimble and agile. They innovate, iterate, and pivot at breakneck speed. They are fearless in their pursuit of growth, not bound by bureaucracy or the weight of legacy.
Imagine if your company could harness this same energy?
Tell me, are your current customers facing problems that your company could address? Could your company potentially leverage new technologies to develop products and/or services that would offer a better solution than is available now?
Here’s a radical idea: Embrace a ‘startup mentality’ within your company and create a culture of innovation where no idea is too bold. Challenge the status quo and remove the traditional thinking that is limiting potential.
How to Begin to Leverage a Startup Mentality
While the size of your existing business may determine which strategies and how extensive the implementation, the key is to just begin… You can start small.
Let’s dive in and explore some proven tactics to kickstart the process, and which should lead to tangible results within 3-6 months.
Here are 5 key steps:
1 – Create an ‘Internal Startup’
Establish a micro startup within your organisation.
Startup teams are inherently small and cross-functional. So, everyone has to pitch in to help solve the problems. This is what you are aiming to emulate.
These ‘internal startup’ units blend elements of research & development, sales & marketing, design and engineering. They’ll need access to Legal, HR and Finance for information, but without being governed by them.
Magic happens when diversity of thought comes together.
2 – Simplify Accountability
Aim to set this team apart from the standard organizational structure. They should have regular check-ins with one leader… This will be the business owner or ‘C’ Suite executive who is championing the initiative and is wholeheartedly supportive.
Rather than a tight set of KPIs, establish a broad vision of the overall goals and aspirations. This enables flexibility to adapt and innovate their approach as well as allowing them to pivot – to change strategy without changing the overall vision.
Additionally, encourage the team to seek expert advice from all departments should it be needed. Even outside their specific division.
Fostering a culture that values creativity, collaboration and rewards risk-taking without the fear of failure will allow this internal startup team to think outside the box and develop more innovative ideas.
If you can, creating new incentive and advancement systems to further support the team.
3 – Start with the Customer
Empower your team to engage in meaningful conversations with your customers. And when I say conversations, it could be email, poll, survey, interview etc.
Initially, they’re looking to identify any problems, issues, or gaps that may be directly or indirectly connected to your current products, services, systems, or team.
They should frame the findings as a ‘problem to be solved from the customer’s point of view’. And detail all the requirements a solution will need to provide your customers. See here for creating a comprehensive ‘Solution Requirements’.
Remember, customers don’t care about market-share, the technology or how long a product took to develop… They only care about how well it solves their problem – that is, makes their life easier or better.
4 – Change the way Progress is Measured
After a problem worth solving is chosen, actively seeking customer input, experimenting and testing with various versions throughout the solution requirements and product design process to help to validate progress.
However, traditional ‘trailing’ indicators such as revenue, profit, ROI, CLV and market share are not relevant in this process.
Leading indicators such as customer engagement, conversion rate, feedback quality, retention rate, feature usage, time-to-value etc. are better predictors of future success.
So, developing a set of leading indicators specific to the project will provide the evidence to show how well a product or service has the potential to truly delight customers.
Investment decisions to further develop can also be made on the basis of these metrics.
5 – Move Quickly
Finally, make decisions fast. In the startup world, time is of the essence. Your internal team should be no different.
Test multiple solutions one after the next. They should pursue a portfolio of smart experiments, where the aim is figuring out the right thing to do for customers.
And ‘failures’ should be recognised as a win…
It’s smarter to reject a ‘seemingly great idea’ based on negative user feedback data, rather than stubbornly chasing a specific product idea for years, only to find it has low product-market fit and lackluster sales when finally released.
So… test fast / fail fast / next – creates progress.
The Beginning of New Possibilities
These five steps provide a simple way to kickstart the process of embracing a Startup Mentality in an organisation. But remember, this is just the beginning, not an exhaustive guide.
And, here’s the thing, embracing a startup mentality doesn’t mean sacrificing your corporate culture and stability. It’s all about blending the best of both worlds to fuel innovation, growth, and success.
Your new internal team should also leverage the treasure trove of battle-tested strategies and tactics that have propelled countless startups to success.
By identifying the most applicable of these proven systems and adapting them to your company’s unique needs will not only accelerate implementation, but also add structure to the process of quickly unlocking new possibilities.
Resources for Internal Startup Teams
The ‘Tech Startup Checklist’ is an invaluable resource… It’s designed to help a first-time tech founder fast-track their success. And guess what? Internal startup teams can take advantage of the exact same proven tactics.
Conventional businesses face numerous challenges when it comes to creating and launching new technology or software products.
However, by embracing a startup mentality and methodology, these challenges can be transformed into opportunities for innovation and success.
- Establish an ‘Internal Startup’
- Simplify their Accountability
- Have them Talk with Customers
- Change Progress Metrics
- Move Fast
By addopting startup methodologies, fostering a culture of innovation and encouraging cross-functional collaboration, businesses can overcome the limitations of traditional business models and rapidly build successful new tech products and services.
Ready to breathe new life into your organization?
Try embracing a Startup Mentality!
I’ll be diving into how to create a Comprehensive Solution Requirements before product design and development to give your product an unfair advantage at release… If you haven’t yet, subscribe here so you don’t miss out.
This week’s Action Steps:
Whether your business is big or small, I promise that adopting a startup mindset and methodology has the potential to be a total game-changer!
This week, I’ve prepared some action steps for senior leadership in established organizations, ready to shake things up to drive new growth and innovation.
The objective is to stimulate your thinking and get things moving!
Step One: Set a Goal
First things first, make the decision you are going to embrace the startup mentality and methodology. Then, take the lead by outlining the vision and defining some exciting high-level goals and objectives for the new program.
Step Two: Find your Team
What you’re after are individuals with an entrepreneurial attitude – the ones who’ve previously dared to question the status quo and may have pushed for better processes. They might have even caused a few ripples (in the best possible way)!
But that’s not all – you also need a diverse range of skills and expertise from across your business… It’ll need to be a cross-functional team to get the best results.
Step Three: Get Together
Confirm everyone is on board and excited about diving deeper into the new potential program. Bring together the most enthusiastic individuals for an initial meeting.
In this meeting, paint a picture of your vision and goals. Give them a taste of the big picture. And then, assuming they’re in, set them free to brainstorm and figure out the nitty-gritty details.
Remember, this is the beginning of your very own internal startup team. Whether it’s a part-time initiative to start or all-in, what truly matters is getting started.
In coming weeks and months I’ll be covering how to choose the best battle-tested strategies for your project and implement efficient processes to fast-track results.
Be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss out.