startup thinking

4 ways big companies benefit by thinking like startups

Every enterprise organization was once a struggling startup. Over the years, large companies tend to lose the energy and creativity upon which they were ultimately founded and settle into stiff and rigid corporate ways. This can make it extremely hard to compete with disruptive startups that have their fingers on the pulse of the market.

Here at iTechArt, we have enterprise clients from all over the world that we’re helping get back to their startup roots when it comes to innovation and agility. We also work with several technology companies who are helping these organizations modernize. So, needless to say, we’ve learned a few things over the years.

Here are three easy ways that larger organizations can benefit by thinking like a startup.

1. Maintain the startup mindset

When a business has been around for a while, a certain type of corporate culture starts to take root comprised of strict policies, standards and layer upon layer of approval processes to go through in order to get anything done. Once this culture has set in, it’s very hard to change. In fact, you’ll find that pretty much everyone throughout the organization seems to fear the word “change.” 

Instead of embracing the status quo, it’s important to have regular brainstorming sessions and meetings where you go back to the very beginning. Why was your company founded? What was the minimal viable product or products? Have you adapted it to meet the needs of a changing demographic and customer? Have you upgraded your overall business processes with the latest technologies?

If you don’t stay on the cutting edge of technology, trends and customer experience, you’re going to lose customers to the next hip brand that hasn’t had time to get set in its own ways.

2. Return focus to the customer

Before your company grew into a big business with a board of directors and complicated corporate policies, you were more than likely focused on just two simple things: your product and your customer.

In the early days, it’s much easier to be zeroed in on every little detail of the customer experience. Entrepreneurs and new business owners are constantly testing the pulse of their customer base and fine-tuning the product to their specifications.

When was the last time you held a product focus group or surveyed your customers? Do you have a robust social media program in place where you listen and respond to your customers on all the major channels?

The point is, you can’t sell to and service a new generation of buyers with an old school development, marketing and customer service approach. Make it a point to obtain customer feedback on a regular basis and act on that feedback in the most appropriate manner.

3. Be ready, willing, and able to change course when needed

The biggest thing startups have going for them is agility and speed. Combine that with a laser focus on what the customer wants, and it’s no wonder why big businesses can’t compete.

Why is it that when small companies become big enterprises, they tend to lose not only their ability to change course when needed, but also their willingness to do so? A lot of it goes back to the previous point about an ingrained corporate culture and people’s fear of change. But to quote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “the only thing constant is change.”

Being flexible and agile is the key to being able to remain a player in a new and emerging world of technology. Big corporations can either accept it and innovate or fight it and watch their customers jump ship to the next big thing.

4. Get help

One of the ways that startups are able to utilize the latest technology is because they outsource their development work. This helps to keep costs lower while still having access to the most highly skilled developers. Enterprise organizations should consider hiring dedicated outside teams and services to help with their technology and business upgrades.

For example, our client Cloud Technology Partners, helps long-established enterprises move their operations over to leading cloud platforms such as AWS, Google, and Microsoft.

We helped CTP develop an application that scans product code to determine how it will work in a cloud environment and then provides an analysis on the overall transfer process. This makes it easier for bigger organizations to commit to updating business processes by moving them to the cloud.

Conclusion

In the same sense that we, as adults, have to be reminded to have fun and be creative like when we were kids, big corporations need to be reminded to continually think like a startup.

Going back to the beginning, to the excitement of that initial idea and how it was going to change the world is the secret to never-ending imagination, creativity, and continued success.

Whether you’re a well-established enterprise looking to regain your startup spirit or a tech company helping other organizations modernize their business processes, we can help. Contact us and let’s discuss your particular needs.