What Can Corporate Teams Learn From Startup Companies?
In the UK, the number of startup companies and enterprises continues to grow.
Startups are disrupting markets and finding competitive advantages to outcompete large corporations in areas that were once perceived impenetrable. For large companies, the innovation and speed of which startups operate causes concern especially for people who do not support this new approach.
However, instead of fearing startup companies, there are many lessons that corporate teams can take away from how startup companies operate.
What lessons can corporate teams learn from startup companies?
- Taking risks
Smaller businesses and startup companies are often more willing to take risks compared to large organisation.
Not because they have less to lose, but the quicker they fail, the faster they can learn and adapt their approach. With a safe-to-fail environment and mentality, startups will often put themselves through smaller projects to test whether they have potential or not.
Many traditional corporations will spend all of their time meticulously planning executions of products and services which therefore creates high expectations within the team and outside of the organisation. By trialling small without overhyping, corporations have the chance to expand and grow without the worry of significant loss or risk.
- Flat organisations
If someone has a promising idea in a large corporation, there are typically many hurdles to jump to get their idea heard by the right person and then approved by the right levels of executives and senior management. This not only wastes time in getting innovations to market, but it also creates an unhealthy environment where people may not feel valued or heard.
Startups generally have a flatter organisational structure which allows everyone to thrive and share ideas as they are all working towards the same goal; to be successful. Having a flat corporate structure encourages team input and means that everyone has equal opportunities. Ideas are not only from the ideas team, and admin is not only completed by administrators.
Encouraging everyone to be innovative, and even taking time away from their traditional responsibilities to help others, or to learn something new themselves, can help to identify key talents that could prove invaluable to your organisation.
- Key drivers
The more vested into a project someone is, the more likely they will want to make it a success.
This does not mean that they are alone in the project, rather than each person is a driver behind an initiative. Instead of a team arguing over issues and struggling the make decisions, there is a critical person who is responsible for decision making by having the complete context and overview of the project.
The strategy of having key drivers not only saves time, meetings and disagreements, but you have an impassioned person that is solely focused on making a project work. Having a single point of contact for each project means they are responsible for managing the necessary documentation and keeping control of the project plan and workflow. This can help to ensure that critical aspects are not missed through miscommunication.
While having key drivers helps to define responsibility, cross-functional teams are invaluable in projects as they can help to bring unique perspectives and raise different points coming from different backgrounds. While responsibility does bring a level of hierarchy, having a diverse team can rid projects of conventional management that can slow plans down.
- Bring ideas to life
Projections may satisfy the board, but customers need to experience something first-hand to know whether your next big idea is right for them. If you look at popular sites such as Kickstarter, startup companies use videos and visualisations of products to help engage customers. In turn, this can help the startup to determine its potential and success. Customers can also make suggestions creating an invaluable feedback loop in a modern method of market research.
Instead of projections, discussions and hypothetical questions in market research studies and feedback questionnaires, showing customers a prototype could prove to give you much more useful feedback. This startup method also increases customer engagement which can help your brand to become much more friendly, personable and innovative as you understand the needs of the customer and get to work to make it happen.
When product development can be extremely costly, you may find that creating a simple prototype can save your business an expensive bill in market research, consumer studies and administration and help you to realise sooner whether your next big idea will be a hit with your audience.