Startups often have a hard time finding their footing in the global marketplace. With so many established brands and enterprises all around us, covering a vast network of niche industries, how can a small startup compete? Studies have also illustrated a high failure rate of startups, with 90% of them failing to find a footing in the industry. A combination of risky ideas and a competitive marketplace often proves to be too much for small teams to endure, especially against the tech giants.
After all the notion of a group of individuals fighting for the spotlight against large tech giants is almost poetic. However, there are ways to stand out from the crowd and make an influence in your respective industry.
Benefits startups have against industry giants
- More Hands-On Experience
As we all know, startups are comprised of small groups of likeminded individuals. However, even in a small corporate environment, things need to happen. Startups offer an amazing opportunity for people to develop an all-encompassing repertoire of skills. Things like coding, finance; design and marketing are second-nature in startup as opposed to segmented, corporate work.
- Less Bureaucracy
Due to a small work environment, there is very little paperwork involved in startups, especially in agile development. While bookkeeping and written documents still exist, communication revolves around eye-to-eye contact with colleagues. This makes development faster, easier and less prone to failure due to miscommunication. The tech giants deal with layers of bureaucracy and compliance.
- Individual Recognition
Individuals rarely get to shine in the spotlight in large corporate environments. However, startups offer a unique opportunity for one person to showcase their talent and be recognized for it. This is also one of the main motivators among graduates and millennials who opt for startup work environment.
- Leadership Development
Lastly, individuals who work in startups often end up opening firms of their own. Leadership skills are abundant in startups since everyone has to pitch in in order for a project to succeed. This gives birth to new industry leaders who are ready to disrupt, innovate and break new ground within their professions.
Ways for Startups to Compete
- Build a Brand around Your Startup’s Culture
When it comes to the difference between large companies and startups, the latter has a unique advantage on its side. Startup cultures are often centered on the employees, the long-term vision as well as office relations. In order to stand out on the market, startups should embrace their internal cultures and make them a part of their brand.
Brands go far beyond logo and naming conventions – they are embedded in every facet of a corporate entity. Your internal culture should be reflected in every piece of presentation, website design and product that comes out of your shop. Startups can easily attract more stakeholders, employment candidates and financial aid to their side through culture-centric branding.
- Adopt an Agile Work Environment
We’ve touched on the notion of operating in an agile work environment previously – but what does that mean? In short, large tech giants and corporate entities in general are riddled with paperwork and due processes. Startups can shift between projects, clients and milestones quickly and easily with simple word of mouth.
This type of flexibility is very hard if not impossible to pull off in a large company where everything is segmented. In that regard, startups should be built with agile workflow from the get go and make it a part of their business model. That way, clients will be tempted to approach startups more so that large corporate giants.
- Streamline Your Project Pipeline
When it comes to the internal structure and project management, startups are also at an advantage. Smaller firms have the benefit of centralizing their management structure through platforms such as Asana and Trello. In a larger environment, these platforms would only be feasible for individual teams – not company-wide implementation.
This would effectively streamline the entire project pipeline for a small startup, making it far quicker to finish individual projects. Coupled with an agile environment, a project management platform would undoubtedly make the startup more intriguing for outside stakeholders.
- Network Early and Constantly
Networking opportunities are dime a dozen both for large companies and startups. What makes networking more relevant for the latter is that a stakeholder would have direct contact with a CEO. In case of corporate giants, networking rarely happens between high-ranking executives with full control over project development.
This makes cooperation with a large company longer, more confusing and very abstract. Startups on the other hand offer a much more personal UX for their clients and outside stakeholders. This is why startups should make it a goal for all employees to network professionally with other startups, clients and stakeholders.
- UX, Customer Support and Loyalty
Brand loyalty is very hard to attain – and very easy to lose entirely. Large corporations are known for their extensive marketing campaigns, promoting brand loyalty, history and customer satisfaction. However, very few CEOs or executives at the tech giants will know anything about individual customers or why they use their brands. It all comes down to statistics and data with large giants –this creates a perfect opportunity for startups.
Startups are in a distinctly unique position in terms of customer support and UX. Each member of a startup can contact a client with progress reports, feedback questions and other support incentives at any moment. This builds loyalty within each client and word of mouth spreads fast within niche industries.
- Startups have fewer employees on their roster – however each employee is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to project management. This is rarely the case in large corporations.
- Startups offer far more development opportunities for individuals, especially in leadership skills. Startups are the perfect opportunity for graduates and millennials to hone their skills and open startups of their own.
- Individualism and office-wide collaboration are staples of startup culture. This is what startups can use to position themselves on the corporate market effectively.
Whether you are already a member of a startup or on your way to becoming one, take these factors into consideration. Individual recognition and professional development are important for each employee – which is what large tech giants often lack. Make your startup stand out from the crowd of large enterprises by highlighting what makes you unique. The right clients will see your small firm for what it really is and approach you without hesitation.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. She does her voodoo regularly on the Pick Writers blog and occasionally contributes to other educational platforms. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer.