The biggest innovation in the small business scene is the creation of the startup. First of all, startups are not the same as small businesses. Small businesses are usually privately owned, exist for profit and usually are not targeted to have much effect on a large scale. Startups on the other hand, are temporary scalable businesses that, though existing for profit, are targeted at searching out major solutions to problems for the sake of disrupting a particular industry.
Why Small Businesses Want to be Startups
Since startups started cropping up all over the world, the business scene has changed. Many people confuse small businesses as startups, and they are not entirely to blame. Small businesses have begun to copy the startup model. The startup style of business is easily recognized for its innovative approaches and flexibility, which has been a proven factor of their success. The necessity for small businesses to improve sales and performance, and the confusion among most on the distinction between startups and small businesses, has led to this copycatting.
The Small Business Goals
The goal of a small business is to gain profit and maximize on sales. Small businesses are targeted towards gaining the maximum amount of customers within the reach of the business. The availability of the internet has dramatically increased the reach of the small business. This is another factor which has led to small businesses copying the startup model. The startup is usually geared and targeted towards a worldwide market, and the twentieth century globalization trend has brought that worldwide market closer than ever, even to the steps of the small business. Small businesses have the capability to target a wide market now.
Small Businesses Evolve Into Startups
Popular knowledge dictates that while startups are not small versions of big companies, small businesses can be. Current trends have blurred that line. Small businesses are more and more evolving into startups. By emulating the model of the startup, the small business scales faster than it normally would, and can become a big company in a shorter time.
Are Startups Still Cropping Up?
Yes they definitely are, and at much faster pace. The present valuations of startups are at an all time high and this is motivation for the entrepreneur with ideas and ambition. Aspiring entrepreneurs are springing up faster as a result of worldwide economic conditions which have ceased to favor the traditional form of business. Starting a startup requires as little as no funding at all, and several VCs and angel investors are lining up to fund startups at a concentration that is unprecedented. The success of the startup –despite being limited to 1 out 9, can also be seen with the proliferation of accelerators and incubators at a level not seen since the dotcom bubble.
The small business world is growing, innovations abound everywhere and the internet has made a market out of every individual on the planet. Small businesses are leveraging on this opportunity to scale faster than ever.
When nearly seven out of ten startups fizzle out before they hit the ten year mark, it’s no wonder the internet is flush with tips of the trade to help you succeed. However, many starry-eyed entrepreneurs get so caught up in the initial launch and logistics of their potential new empire, they forget to save their marketing energy for the long haul. Although launching a small business is always different, it’s imperative that entrepreneurs approach their efforts by evolving traits of both the “tortoise” and the “hare” in the race to the finish line.
Most businesses want to emerge with a big splash, eager to leverage any and all PR or marketing opportunities they can brainstorm. In the early planning stages, figuring out the most fun, exciting and impactful publicity strategies is exhilarating. However, as quarterly reports pile up and daily troubleshooting takes hold of your worries, bombastic early strategies can quickly slow to a trickle. To avoid this, it’s important to utilize all the tools at your disposal to keep your brand presence strong and relevant without breaking your back to do so.
Social media aggregation tools: it’s imperative to maintain a strong media presence for your startup, and there are many tools to help you do so without spending hours a day. Sprout Social or Hoot Suite, for example, can allow you to parcel out a posting strategy that allows you to pre-program posts all at once.
“The Fortune is in the Follow Up,” is an old saying that pertains strongly to new businesses. Strategize Your Success points out that a little personal massaging can go a long way. Something as simple as a kind follow-up email can be enough to remind your busy potential clients that you’re around and ready to spring to action.
Read the Fine Print
While some people are natural detail-oriented and wouldn’t dare skip a single line of fine-print, many of us, much to the chagrin of our bank accounts, don’t come over details that could have negative long-term effects on a start up. For example, if leasing a commercial space, Lisa Girard for Entrepreneur notes that many commercial spaces are wracked with hidden fees, utilities and the potential for costly misfortune. For example, many buildings built prior to the 1990s still contain asbestos, or lead if built before 1970. If your business offers a unique product or proprietary service, it’s also essential to ensure all the patents are in order. Although it’s tempting to assume there isn’t anyone lurking to ride the coattails of your wonderful idea, Sansone and Lauber, Missouri Lawyers, points out that there are many people and companies that are just waiting to “unscrupulously violate patent owner’s right.”
Create a Lasting Culture
Employee “quit” numbers are up, according to Forbes, and the cost of losing an employee is not only astronomical, but the disengaged employees that leave or often disengaged leading up to the decision, which also hurts bottom line and productivity. In a nutshell, employees who feel valued and engaged can help give your company wheels that helps give it those extra miles for the long haul. Bill Conerly for Forbes notes that in order to maximize retention and culture, business owners should:
Track retention: look for trends and arcs in employee happiness, engagement and productivity
Give employees a path: no one wants to sit around feeling like a cog in a cubicle all day. Giving employees a long term purpose and goals can help them feel like the work they do is leading up to something rewarding.
Increase Flexibility: Draconian rules and rigidity can make employees feel trapped and undervalued. Although there needs to be a balanced schedule and professional environment, flexible hours and accommodation of personal schedules can go a long way to keep employees happy.
Keep an Eye out for Stressors: whether it’s a jack-hammer outside or a thermostat stuck on 90 degrees . . .or even a particularly loud talker . . . office stressors can quickly turn a tranquil environment into a high-stress zone.