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.

The right decisions are usually obvious. It’s not fun to lay people off, or to eliminate product lines to rightsize your company. But business decisions are not supposed to be pleasant. They should be obvious, however, and that makes them necessary. And if the decisions are necessary, they become easier to make.

“The right decisions are usually obvious.”

Keep in mind, though, that business results have some lag time from these internal changes. Convincing customers of the value of working like an entrepreneur again can take a bit more time. And you’ll need real participation and buy-in from channel partners.

Have faith. When you’re right, you know it. You can transform your company faster than you think. Lifesize went from a legacy technology provider that was viewed in some circles as an “also ran” to a completely new organization with the very best connected devices—all in less than a year.

These five simple ideas can make a tangible difference. Of course, you may be swimming against the tide when you start out on this track. Some people thought I was crazy, trying to fit entrepreneurial behavior into a large, established corporate organization.

But I had a vision of where we needed to go, backed by the experience of bringing my company to success in the first place. I also understood what was going on among fledgling companies now making names for themselves. And in the process, we turned Lifesize into a real market force, more quickly than we imagined.

You can make big changes quickly, too—if you have the courage to start thinking small again.


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