Often, even successful startups are jittery when pitching for large clients or projects, simply because they end up undermining their own strengths and feel less capable as compared to their larger and more established counterparts. But little do they realize that have a lot of value to add, simply by virtue of the fact that they are a startup. And more often than not, even prospective clients are now looking for business partners who bring the ‘startup advantage’ with them, not just in terms of lower costing, but also the nimbleness and culture of innovation that startups have come to represent.
That’s also one of the reasons why large conglomerates, that startups are wary of, are now looking at making their own operations more startup-like, in spite of the scale at which they operate. Google’s co-founder, Larry Page once said in an interview, “One of the primary goals I have is to get Google to be a big company that has the nimbleness, soul, passion and speed of a startup.”
This is an apt summarisation of why startups are so relevant today in spite of the odds they face. Given below are some of the biggest advantages a startup can offer potential clients and give them an edge in the market:
In an era of rapid technological strides and cutting edge innovation, startups have a greater edge over corporate and large businesses. They are much more agile and fast in developing new technologies, services and products unlike larger corporates with huge hierarchies and bureaucratic processes. Mostly entrepreneurs have a closer relationship with their customers, and so, are more clued in to their needs. Moreover, they are not trapped by the brand or image of their product unlike the ones created by high profile campaigns of the larger businesses.
Understand the pulse of customers
Larger corporations are dependent on independent market surveys to understand customer preferences and rely on test launches before bringing in a new technology or product. But, a startup founder has firsthand experience of how the pulse of their customer beats, and hence, is immediately able to implement and changes, if required.
More responsive to market conditions
Did you know that a startup can complete seven developmental cycles in the time it takes larger companies to complete one! This ability and appetite to adapt and create fast is what gives a startup significant edge over larger competitors.
In fact, startups are far more swift when it comes to market responsiveness, since they have smaller teams and more flexible operations. Moreover, they are, in general,more open to adapting to change as compared to larger companies, where implementing any change itself can be a time-consuming process and one that needs a lot of time and effort to get people to even change their mindset.
It is this swiftness of operations and ease and speed of adopting and adapting to change that is the need of the hour in today’s dynamic market scenario where change has become the only constant. So, startups have a definite edge over larger companies on this front.
Lower overheads = Cheaper products/services
The lean, mean structure of a startup also allows it to offer its products cheaper than its bigger counterparts. They have much lower overheads in terms of pay checks, production and administrative costs, which translate into comparatively cheaper product or services. This is a big advantage for startups, since it allows them to make inroads into the markets of their bigger competitors with lower prices. They are also able to make inroads into new markets which were either ignored by larger conglomerates or were price sensitive.
Innovation is part of their DNA
Greater innovations come out of the startup stable as they attract brilliant talent that is looking for more meaningful pursuits than just a huge paycheck and are keen to take ownership of their skills.
It is in a startup that they have more freedom to create, experiment and fail without any guilt, thus encouraging more innovation. They are more driven to seek, develop and disrupt existing norms as they understand it is the key to the long term survival of the startup and themselves.
Moreover, the members of a startup are aware of the limited financial resources and know how to make the most of them to keep the ball rolling. Team members are also more flexible to go beyond their current role in order and do what is in the best interest of the startup. In established businesses, on the other hand, there are clearly demarcated responsibilities and people are most focused on achieving their individual goals.
The coexistence of startups and large establishments has thrown up some interesting symbiotic relationships. Larger companies are now trying to leverage the advantage that startups have to offer by outsourcing non-core processes to them, since they have deep expertise in those areas and can deliver within faster turnaround times.
In fact, not only do startups seek large companies as their customers, larger companies too are looking at startups to increase their customer base. For instance, Amazon’s cloud unit is trying to win over startups to use its scaleable infrastructure services and has snagged RedBus and BookMyShow as its customers. For such companies, it has become important to engage and acquire startups to accelerate their growth at a faster pace than if they were to do it solo. Cisco, Google, Facebook and Intel are regularly acquiring startups directly or indirectly to keep up with the latest technology and expertise.
So while many startups hesitate to take the plunge fearing competition from the ‘biggies’ in the industry, it is, in fact, the other way around, since the startups are far more geared to keep up with the ever changing market environment and deliver. It is for this very reason that the ‘biggies’ too are looking at startups to find greater synergies and boost their own operations, thus opening up more horizons for them.
So, it’s not just the startups, but even their clients and other business partners who can now leverage startups to cash in on the ‘startup advantage’.
Image Credit – Lynda