Lessons Startups Can Learn From Big Companies
Received wisdom often argues that everything new, everything exciting, everything cutting edge comes from startups, that those stuffy old suits in the big companies have had their day. This might be a line of argument that brings comfort to struggling startups on cold winter nights but it’s a highly romantic one. Big companies got to be big because some of their key ideas work better than other people’s, so there’s a lot that even the freshest, most successful startups can learn…
The socialnomics team posted a great piece on this site a few weeks back entitled ‘3 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned from The Rise of Amazon’. However, there’s more that can be learned from the world’s largest ecommerce site. Amazon is well known for its ability to experiment and innovate, its ability to change its infrastructure to respond to the demands of the market, but what is not always acknowledged is its absorption and adaptation of existing models. Its postal service is a replication of the USPS’s model. Amazon adapted it by putting its own self service lockers near convenience stores. If there’s an operational system already out there which works really well, then see how it can be adapted to suit your needs.
Invest in an App
In the age of mobile, the difference an app can make to your company is huge and something that shouldn’t really need to be discussed. If you still need some convincing though, here the success speaks for itself.
Contemporary living has become a quest for ever greater convenience and an app on your phone is the most convenient way of getting what you want. hungryhouse was launched as a website in 2006 but it was its pioneering use of the app which supercharged its success. Far more people use an app than search for a website and once they’ve got your app they’re going to come back again and again, why wouldn’t they? The hungryhouse app has seen it grow from an organization partnered with five hundred restaurants in 2008 to one which is now part of a network delivering from thirty-three thousand restaurants across twelve countries.
Once upon a time working spaces were private places, ideas were jealously guarded: Silicon Valley changed that as co-working spaces and the sharing of ideas became the norm. It was eBay, like Amazon, founded in the nineties, that took this idea of sharing to the very heart of its multi-billion-dollar business. Its community of buyers and sellers is a unique model, based on collaboration. Application Program Interface enables it to operate on multiple platforms and consequently process an immense volume of transactions. The eBay database enables vast numbers of individuals to communicate directly with the company. The benefit of API’s to a startup cannot be overstated: they provide ready-made protocols and routines as well as tools for analytics and payments.
Its staring you in the face, but can you see it?
People have been hailing a cab in pretty much the same way since the days of Sherlock Holmes. Uber’s masterstroke was to think of a way to make that process more convenient. Astonishingly, Uber has only been around since 2009, with an estimated revenue of ten billion dollars per year it’s now one of the fastest growing companies in the world. Like eBay it created a platform which connects buyers and sellers, like hungryhouse it saw how to make an everyday requirement more convenient and once people had that app on their phone it became the only way they would ever call a taxi.