The Short Answer: “Do what you can’t” -Casey Neistat. Startups are the engine of the modern business environment because they blindly jump into challenges and aim relentlessly for innovation.
What is a startup?
Ok, we understand, you might be confused. Startups have a lot of definitions. Since people who found such companies are so creative, they usually describe startups in abstract terms like Adora Cheung, who said that startups are a state of mind.
To put it bluntly, Investopedia defines startups as recently founded small businesses by only a handful of people, who provide an innovative solution to a problem that was previously unresolved.
To keep it short, creative people make life easier.
Which small steps lead to a giant leap for businesses?
A group is smarter than the smartest individual in the group. Simple as that. This is how startups come up with creative and innovative solutions to customers’ problems. It is all about fast decision making and grouping experts together in a room to accomplish the impossible.
The most important factor for successful startups is that employees are encouraged to continuously learn. Knowledge stems from explanation and explanation occurs in conversations, which is why teamwork is so important. It facilitates employee learning and promotes fast problem-solving.
Jump from the edge
The go big or go home mentality is what moves startups forward. Unlike traditional corporate structures, startup companies are not afraid to aim extremely high, even though chances are it won’t work.
The only way to deal with the uncertainty of our reality is to embrace it. This strategy avoids creative destruction. If you’re wondering what that means, let us illustrate with a case.
Blockbuster! A decade ago, they were eating up Netflix. Can you imagine that?
Blockbuster was founded in 1985 in Dallas, Texas. They started as a company with several shops, which provided movies and game rental services. Eventually, they became an international corporation with more than 9000 stores worldwide. What you might not know is that Netflix was a startup also founded in the late 90s and was one of Blockbuster’s main competitors.
Netflix also began its journey to success with the idea for renting movies, however, their model was focused on online ordering of DVDs, which would be delivered via mail to clients.
Can you see the problem here?
Since Netflix’s most important partner was postal services, it was a challenge to send videos on time and at times, videos were not returned by clients.
There was also a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Internet which was in its early stages of development. Netflix took the risk, realized the potential of the Internet, and assumed that in the future, movies would be directly delivered via the Internet.
Netflix was on the verge of bankruptcy, so the board made an offer for Blockbuster to acquire Netflix. And this was a defining moment for both companies.
Blockbuster believed that the Internet would not last and Netflix would disappear very soon, so they declined the offer. Who’s laughing now? The ensuing years were far from easy for Netflix, especially during the dot-com bubble burst. Nevertheless, their idea, which embraced the uncertainty of the Internet, was revolutionary.
This is creative destruction in its truest form. It is what happens when companies don’t take risks and look towards the future, recognizing the opportunities that lay in front of them.
Failing feels great
Try hard + Fail + Repeat = Success. A formula for success we’re sure you’ve heard. Failure is one of the ways destruction can be avoided. Success can leave you in a rut, leave you compliant, while failure makes you push harder. Failure is one of the factors that makes startups climb over mountains.
Beat them to the punch
Eric Shanteau, an American gold medalist in swimming, once said that being happy outside the pool means that you have to swim fast in the pool. Startup businesses create a very dynamic environment, with which other companies can’t cope. This is due to the fact that they’re always on the lookout and try to be one, maybe even two, three, four steps ahead of the competition.
The motto is “slow development is not development”. Let’s go back to Netflix and what they are doing now. They have learned from the mistakes of their former competitor Blockbuster. Developing new algorithms that may not always work, spreading reach in many countries worldwide, and creating their own content, Netflix is doing whatever it takes to push the limit. That’s how they stay on top of the game.
Long story short...
In a fast-moving world, where every minute is priceless, attention from potential customers is an immensely valuable asset. In order to actually hold onto it, startups create a tale around their business for their customers to fall in love.
Stories are a primary weapon against competition from corporations. Startups stand out by providing customers with a narrative with which to identify. Construction of a story is no piece of cake.
Everything from the product, the storefront, be it physical or online, through social media or print marketing should be telling the unique company story.
Cultivating employee happiness
Happy wife, happy life? Happy employee, healthy business! Startups rise to success because they put extra effort into keeping the team happy. But, what does it mean to make your employees happy and why is it so important?
You might think that employee happiness is directly related to productivity, but that’s not exactly the case. We can explain.
Matthew Killingsworth from Harvard University explored the origins of happiness by analyzing data from the “Track Your Happiness” app, which allows you to report on the various factors that make you happy. It turns out that workplace happiness is actually generated from a state of absorption in one’s work. In that sense, employees are happiest when completely consumed by their work.
Startups make sure that everyone in their team is doing exactly what they want to do. This strategy leads to employees enjoying their daily tasks, which promotes the state of complete work immersion.
If that’s not clear enough, here’s an example. Netflix’s success is due to the strong company culture, which supports team happiness. They developed a culture of high performance with strong values, from which all startups can learn.
The culture at Helloprint bonds the team and creates the DNA of the company. It’s important to have solid firm beliefs as a company, which unify the team. For example, Helloprinters have nine core values that serve as motivation to push hard.
The way to cultivate employee happiness is by putting people first, cherishing their work, making them feel special, and binding them together with values that they can truly appreciate. When everybody is given work that they are honestly excited about, it is easy to get lost in what you are doing.
Startups are changing the world by creating an environment for fast-learning with a safe opportunity for failure in a dynamic business which moves with lightning speed.
It’s about the sweet spot of cultivating customer, but also employee happiness. Quick thinking means fast progress, which is how startups transform the world, by being twenty steps ahead.
Startups erase the old ways and come up with new ones that are accepting of failure and uncertainty. They build innovation out of disruption. For example, Netflix shook multiple industries all at once, while Helloprint is disrupting the print industry by building the Earth’s largest platform for printed products.
About the author
Slavena Varbanova is the newest addition to the Helloprint content marketing team. She is studying Communication and Media at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is also a bookworm that loves to cook and go on adventures around the world. Check out more by Slavena on the Helloblog.