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.

Some customer requests stifle progress. In his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Harvard professor Clayton Christensen writes that successful companies may overemphasize customers’ current needs, instead of adopting new ways to meet customers’ future needs. Those companies, he says, eventually fall behind.

“Companies that overemphasize customers’ current needs instead of adopting new ways to meet customers’ future needs eventually fall behind.”

Accommodating a lot of custom implementations hampers innovation. It doesn’t work in today’s modern technology markets. Such technology changes can makes these hurdles in your path to innovation irrelevant. Don’t fall into that trap.

Imagine you’re starting over. In fact, you ARE starting over. You have to look at where your business needs to go for continued success. Your current leadership and their skill sets may not be appropriate to this new direction. You may need to bring new “DNA” into the company, for everything from customer care to product development.

If you do it correctly, the new people you bring into the organization will attract similar talent—all of whom will have a common understanding of where the organization needs to go.


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