What Small Startups Can Teach Global Enterprises

By: Alexey Saphoznikov – Co-Founder & CTO, prooV

While the driving force behind the innovation and determination of startups is the hope of becoming an enterprise, as an enterprise executive, it’s important to remember that there are benefits to being a small startup – benefits that can be used to leverage your existing enterprise.

Startups often look at an enterprise and see limitless time, manpower and funding, but the truth is that in order to retain market share and uphold your advantage in your industry, it is necessary to continually move forward; that means more innovation and less time to market.

More often than not, the most optimal solution is to look to startups in the hopes of adopting game-changing innovation into your ecosystem (and of course at prooV we’re huge believers in connecting startups to enterprises through our PoC marketplace).

A single integration of a startup’s solution into your enterprise is a quick way to get ahead, however enterprises that want to continually drive forward their brand and retain market share in today’s cut throat world must adopt more than a single solution – they must adopt a startup mentality.  

Startups Think Creatively  

“An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.” — Bill Bernbach, co-founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach

What startups lack in resources they make up for in creativity. It is no secret that startups, by nature, operate differently than enterprises since they have no other choice.  The ‘sink or swim’ instinct that drives innovation in a startup is often what an enterprise is missing and is something that can transform an enterprise.  

Following a successful PoC, enterprises have the choice to scale the viable solution to their entire ecosystem or try to adapt it to suit their ecosystem. If the enterprise wants to challenge the market, the best thing to do would be to take a lesson from the startups and shift their existing strategy to be in line with the technology and not the other way around.  This simple shift in thought is the best way enterprises can ensure they keep the spark of creativity alive within their infrastructure.

Perfecting the Pivot

Since startups have limited time to prove their concept, they often find themselves pivoting completely multiple times before succeeding in bringing their solution to a relevant enterprise.

Enterprises can learn a great deal from this – specifically where cutting losses are concerned. Many enterprises often fall into the sunk-cost fallacy idea where if enough money and time is invested into a solution, it will eventually yield a viable result.

The truth is that sometimes it is simply smarter to pivot your product and to do so quickly. Remembering that it is ok to pivot, and more importantly, that it is something that should be done quickly and as often as necessary, is an important lesson that enterprises can learn from startups.

Consumers are Changing

Startups that have to answer to investors often focus on virality and stickiness of their solution – this means they constantly optimize the consumer experience to increase conversion.  Enterprises often forget that at the end of the multi million-dollar company is a consumer that has to use, love and recommend their product in order to keep growing.  Whether operating in the B2B or B2C world, all enterprises have a consumer whose demands they need to meet, and in today’s world, those demands are constantly changing.

Startups recognize that consumers continually change and adjust their products and solutions accordingly.  Enterprises would be wise to recognize that the needs of their target market changes often and to adapt their solution accordingly.  

Manage Differently

“When you’re a manager, you work for your company. When you’re a leader, your company works for you.” – Stan Slap, founder of SLAP Company Business Management Consultants

One of the most unique things about startups is the complete disregard for hierarchy they have. Many startups focus more on output than on bureaucracy, posing challenges to the traditional work environment. This means remote employees, non-standard work environment and the ability to challenge superiors.

While to an enterprise this might seem to go against their corporate culture, it is ultimately this type of work environment that breeds the ROI improving and game changing creativity that enterprises desperately seek.

As an enterprise this is perhaps the most important lesson to be learned – innovation can come from within if you create the right environment. Having the ability to pivot, think creatively and meet target audience needs will never be enough if there is no true desire for innovation and growth from the employees.