Always A Startup

the lean startup

In business many times we segment companies into different phases and rightfully so. Successful businesses that are in the so-called “startup phase” are often notorious for being extremely agile and scrappy. If the business is to survive they need to be quickly responsive and adaptive to the needs of their market. As businesses mature they often lose this ability, many times to the detriment of the company as a whole. During the pandemic of 2020, several businesses have completely folded because they have lost sight of this mentality that may have helped them get where they are. As the owner and founder of Vulpine Marketing, a digital marketing company, one might think I think the greatest thing a company can do to be successful is to do great advertising. However, that is simply not true. I don’t believe that. I believe that a company needs to solve a lot of different problems before they truly invest heavily in marketing. I also believe that even great marketing cannot solve operational or cultural issues. 

These problems if unaddressed will destroy a company faster than terrible marketing can. In many instances, the problems that arise within companies are because they lose the startup spirit and mentality. They become too ingrained in their ways and lose sight of more meaningful things. 

In this article, I will outline multiple personalities and characteristics of startups that I hope businesses never lose. 

Listen To Your Consumers 

Often our consumers are willing to share their insight into what they appreciate about your product and service. They will gladly tell you exactly what they are hoping to see from you if they are confident that you will listen. If the consumer is concerned that their thoughts, opinions or concerns will fall on deaf ears, they will save both of your time and not give you the meaningful feedback you want. It’s incredible what happens when you truly listen to your consumer. Your product and your service becomes stronger. Your relationship with that consumer improves and their brand loyalty is strengthened as well. 

Sometimes large companies lose sight of the consumer and simply do what they feel is what people want. When they are wrong, they pay dearly for it. They often lose to companies who are listening and giving the audience what they actually want. 

Be Quick To Adapt And Adopt 

During the early years of newer business models of companies like Netflix that offered an alternative to the traditional brick and mortar movie store, movie store behemoth Blockbuster conducted in-depth market research. They wanted to know what consumers wanted. The research reported that consumers enjoyed going into stores, perusing the videos, smelling the popcorn and other parts of the experience. As a result of this information, Blockbuster decided to remain steadfast in their current business model and operations. 

Years later, Blockbuster has lost the huge market presence they once had. They were beaten out by newer business models. Blockbuster had the resources, the brand power and the market share that if they had adapted their business model to compete with Netflix, they likely would have won. 

Strive To Impress 

At my last company, one of the core values was to be Amazing. The work we did and the results it delivered should impress our users or our customers. Sometimes larger companies forget who really pays their bills, who really keeps their lights on and as a result they deliver lackluster results for their clients. If your goal is to truly impress your clients, they will often be satisfied. 

Stay Agile 

I have been incredibly impressed by companies like ExpoMarketing that have dramatically shifted or added brand new product lines to adapt to current market conditions. Expo created trade show booths for well-known companies for some of the largest trade shows in the United States. However, in the year 2020 amidst Covid-19 concerns trade shows just didn’t happen. Expo admirably pivoted to offer branded custom hand sanitizer stations

No matter the size or the age of a company, businesses will do well by living by some of these principles and always remaining a startup. Keep the fire of innovation burning and do the best you can!

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