The word “startup” is thrown around a lot. It’s almost purposefully ambiguous, as it could be anything from an unemployed tech geek in a studio apartment, all the way up to a billion dollar company trying desperately to hang onto its indie cred.
“Startup” has less to do with the size or profits of a company, and more about the way it acts. The startups of today (“lean startup” is the term most are currently throwing around) are small, efficient, agile, and social. Startups are all of these things because they have to be. They can’t afford Super Bowl commercials, they rely on organic marketing and social media. It’s easy for startups to make decisions because decisions only need to go through a couple of people. And most critically, startups only spend money on something that is absolutely of value. And because of all this, large companies are taking notice.
Fast Company wrote an article about a growing trend popping up throughout corporate America: big companies are acting like startups. In other words, they’re being more efficient. So if you’re a large company out there looking to emulate a startup, here are some tips to help you follow the trend:
Be A Customer First, Salesperson Later
Try your own stuff before shipping it out to all your customers. Try out your products a lot. Constantly, so you know everything about the customer experience. Every reply to a customer complaint should involve the phrase, “been there, done that.”
Ask For Help When You Need It
If there’s an internal problem at a company, an internal solution might not always be the smartest option. There’s nothing wrong with gathering up some buddies from other companies and spending some time tackling an issue. Even a day with some students or grad students will open your company up to fresh ideas on the cheap.
If It Isn’t Helping It’s Hurting
The most defining characteristic of a lean startup is that they’re lean. The company lives and dies on each person. Is this ideal? Probably not for a large company, but it’s a good ideology. Plus, the smaller the company, the less people to go through when a decision has to be made.