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6 Things That Established Companies Can Learn From Startups

Startups and entrepreneurship are booming. Especially digitization offers so many new opportunities for lucrative and extraordinary business ideas. With a lot of time and brainpower but little investment, innovative digital products can be launched in a short time. And the success stories of around million euros for funding in startups and successful exits are not abating.

This awakens the longing for many to start their own startup.A startup is defined as the development of a new product and service in an uncertain environment, that is, quite clearly, as the implementation of an innovation ( read more about software development for startups ) .

And so many companies flirt with start-ups, on the one hand as an investment option for increasing value, but above all in the context of digitization. The young companies have the necessary know-how and access to new technologies in order to develop the right business models in the digital world to expand their established business fields. But for the big, heavy companies, a particular charm is the innovative ability and speed that small startups display.

Compared to the young, agile companies, these organizations are sometimes sluggish, innovation-weak, encrusted and dusty, just before the organizational burn-out . What can these traditional and established large companies now learn from the fascination of start-ups?

Optimism towards new things

Especially in Central Europe, we see new things first, always the dangers and risks and everything that will not work. You start with an idea with analysis, until it is almost dead. By contrast, startups bring with them a high degree of openness and strong optimism about new ideas and innovations. You always see the positives and the opportunities behind them. Again, this attitude is to be familiar to established companies and corporations. Instead of being afraid of change, the new should always be welcome. True to the motto "nothing is impossible" should always be thought of in opportunities.

Trial & Error as a learning process

Companies are accustomed to the fact that at the beginning of an innovation and improvement project extensive analyzes are always carried out in order to collect as much information as possible before starting with energy. Based on these analyzes, which are mostly assumptions, a project is set up. Unfortunately, this foundation can be wrong, which is why startups deal with new ideas with uncertainties and uncertainties.

Instead of analyzing and discussing for a long time, it starts immediately and just tries it out. Approaches and methods like those of Design Thinking or Lean Startup are used. In doing so, fairly rapid, inoffensive prototypes are developed to test assumptions and uncertainties and to learn as quickly as possible from trial-and-error. On the basis of this learning knowledge and thus also facts, the new product is gradually being developed in loops.

Fault culture "When planning is done, chips fall!"

This trial-and-error approach described above also requires an error culture. But that does not mean that mistakes are welcome and they are celebrated. This is a false myth.

Failure culture means failing to admit failure. "Shavings are where shavings fall," says an old proverb. And where you try new things and take risks, mistakes can happen as well. If these mistakes are perceived as a learning opportunity to develop something further, we speak of positive mistakes.

Established companies are afraid of failure. The bosses fear for the image of the company or for bonuses. But these fears prevent innovations. Therefore try new things also rewarded and not punished.

Proximity to customers

The larger a company, the less the employees who have direct customer contact . With the distance to the customer, the orientation towards the customer and his needs is lost. Many even claim that they are more concerned with themselves than with their customers. Often one hears the irony "the customer disturbs". But it is not so funny, because actually many companies no longer understand the customers, because the proximity to the market is missing.

Of course, this is much easier for startups because of their size, and it is also obvious that all employees have customer contact. But in reality, the size does not matter. Even large companies can ensure that employees maintain and maintain contact with customers, it is only a matter of time. A time that is well spent, because it's the best way to understand customers and their needs when talking to them directly.

Entrepreneurship instead of silo thinking

Entrepreneurs in companies is the credo. Behave yourself as if it were your own company. Start-ups are characterized by entrepreneurial spirit, all work in the direction of a common goal.

But with the size of a company, another mind grows, namely companies in companies. Organizational units behave like individual companies competing with other units. Silosken dominates. You do not focus on a common goal, but the department goals are in the foreground. This leads to conflicts of interest, interface problems and lack of contributions to the common vision.

Silodenken is a true innovation inhibitor. It is imperative that companies tackle it, for example by fostering cooperation, exchanges and networking and focusing on a common goal.

Conclusion: "Startup culture as an inspiration for companies"

Start-ups are a fascination for themselves. They put their full performance on the road and immediately see an effect behind every action. This fuels longing, as large companies suffer from their complexity, size and age. But that should not lead to resignation, because even established, large companies that have had much success in the past can counteract this with various measures. But not just by traveling to the Silicon Valley, putting down the ties and setting up a table wizzer.

Important are long-term and sustainable interventions to promote the spirit and the culture of innovation. Managers need to take action to increase agility, openness to innovation and entrepreneurship, for example. So come the innovation success and, not negligible, also the fun of working by itself.

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