The Startup Bandwagon

Contributed by Hannah Beasley

I’m convinced this niche in history will one day be referred to as the era of startups. Tech startup companies are small, flexible, and more than anything, they have a can-do attitude that drives them to work 120 hours in a week in order to get a product out the door before it’s too late. These budding entrepreneurs see opportunities when larger companies are spending six months planning a strategy to build a solution – the startups just build it in six weeks. Sure, many startups don’t have the capital to get off the ground, and plenty of them that do still fail to produce any ROI.

But the important lesson to learn from this uprising is that a culture of constant change has become our reality. These tech startups are finding success because the world as we know it is changing every single day. These companies are smaller, deliberately structured to be flexible, and they are filled with creative minds. They are thriving in the midst of change. They are capitalizing on change as an opportunity – not viewing it as a threat to the current business model.

We have seen it repeatedly in history: companies who fail to capitalize on change will lose. Kodak feared cannibalizing their film business so much that they didn’t capitalize on their invention of the digital camera in the 50s. Had they instead chosen to become a pioneer in digital photography and dominate the market as a leader, they might not have filed for bankruptcy a week ago with a shattered business model and fragmented market share.

And then we see companies that have turned change into an incredible opportunity.

In the late 90s, record labels saw rampant music piracy as a huge threat to their profitability. They were constantly looking to fight against it through laws, petitions, and an arsenal of wealthy recording artists. In 2000, Steve Jobs saw it as an opportunity. Despite a great deal of resistance from the record companies, Jobs negotiated contracts and designed an entirely new revenue model for artists, recording labels, writers, and most importantly, Apple. This tech startup born in Steve’s garage in the 70s was no longer in just the computer business. Apple changed the way we think about music and the way we make purchases online. Yes, the iTunes store had a drastic impact on physical CD sales, and many music-only stores have been forced to close their doors.

But the revenue didn’t disappear – it was just reallocated. Don’t you want to be the place where people are reallocating their funds?

Don’t you want to be the electric car that Americans choose when they finally trade in their gas guzzlers? When consumers make changes to their health providers due to healthcare reform, don’t you want to be the company they choose? When 50% of households cancel their cable and begin utilizing the internet to stream and record live sporting events, don’t you want them to be subscribed to your service?

We all want to grow and become more profitable, so in this era of change, you need to be constantly be asking yourself…

How can I incorporate the healthy and successful innovative culture of a startup into my business? How can I ally myself with change-oriented partners to be sure that my own planning and good intentions don’t keep me from my future success?