Thinking Small: Lessons Big Businesses Can Learn from Startups

If your company’s success has started to plateau, or you suspect you’re starting to rest on your laurels, my advice is simple: Think small. Re-learn the lessons of your early entrepreneurial days, and you’ll avoid falling into a rut of complacency.

It can be unsettling. After all, you’ve seen your business grow based on a proven way of working—in many cases, for decades. But if you want to see that success continue, you have to question the very foundations of that success.

“If you want to see success continue, you have to question the very foundations of your success.”

Here are the five most important lessons I learned when applying the “think small” attitude to my business:

Forget jargon—think like customers. Lifesize offers a software solution for video conferencing over the cloud. A recent upgrade to our application included a button labeled “Release Notes.” Our developers explained it was to point out what was new in the upgrade. We’ve now changed it to read, plainly, “What’s New.”

We have to speak to users, not to developers. Our software architects have to adapt to a new way of thinking about their work. They have to reach out to new users in plain language. Anything else is a losing proposition.


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