Ten things we can learn from startups

Sol Marketing works with global brands successful for decades, as well as startups seeking their first rounds of funding. Startups do things differently. They get things done quickly, with few resources. Startups are scrappy and resourceful. Here’s what large companies can learn from them.

1. Go fast. Break out of your usual way of doing things by occasionally setting unrealistic time limits to solve a problem. Unrealistic as in, 30 seconds, not three quarters.

2. Grow from within. At startups, people often play multiple roles. When hiring or promoting talent, look for people who can contribute in more than one area.

3. Spend every dollar like it’s coming out of your own pocket. While solving problems sometimes takes money, don’t think of it as your only tool. Throwing money at a problem can actually make it worse.

4. Give away power. Startups have to delegate decisions out—there’s simply no time for a culture in which every decision needs to be approved. To do this, everyone on the team must know the strategy and what they need to do to execute it.

5. Solve a problem. Preferably a problem that your customers have (e.g. a need to accelerate time to market), not just a problem YOU have (e.g. an aging product line).

6. Simplify your process. Does every single decision need to go to management to be approved? Really? No.

7. Reward innovation. Innovation fails far more often than it succeeds. An innovative idea that doesn’t quite perform can teach you more than something that provides incremental benefits.

8. Experiment with your product. Small companies build a minimally viable product and let customers drive its evolution. What if large companies did the same?

9. Work hard. Play hard. If people work the kind of hours they would at startups, you’d better provide them with opportunities to let off steam.

10. Disagreements are healthy. To a point. Chaos, turmoil and tension can drive innovation by bringing issues out in the open. But be nice. You don’t want to be the guy everyone is afraid of but no one respects.

TrendsAlex NicholsComment