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For founders, staying on top of the latest trends can be vital to success. At a time when developments in technology can disrupt entire industries virtually overnight, getting caught off guard can bring about an early conclusion to any venture. On the flip side, capitalizing on the right emerging trend can just as easily catapult a small startup to stardom. Running a successful startup—or any business for that matter—requires at least keeping abreast of trends if not setting them.
For example, when Dollar Shave Club burst onto the razor scene in 2011, the company’s subscription model and irreverent advertising quickly captured a large share of the market. Instead of ignoring the subscription trend, Gillette responded quickly (albeit unoriginally) with Gillette Shave Club. This move helped keep Procter & Gamble’s brand relevant, and the subsequent rebranding of the service as Gillette on Demand, with the option for users to text BLADES to a specified number to order a refill, helped differentiate the corporate player.
Subscriptions continue to experience rapid growth, but it’s a business model that’s not right for all. There are, however, numerous trends that can affect a wide variety of businesses. The following three promise to shape entrepreneurship in 2019, and it’s likely that the impact of these will be felt for years. Consider how the following fit into your business plan:
1. Co-working spaces offer startups otherwise out-of-reach resources and networking opportunities.
Shared workspaces are enjoying a big boom these days. In August 2018, WeWork announced that it would double its locations in Seattle — a sign of confidence in the market considering that the number of co-working startups continues to climb sharply. Why so much enthusiasm? According to a study published in Knowledge Management Research & Practice, close proximity encourages collaboration and stimulates a ready exchange of knowledge.
While the appeal of co-working spaces is obvious for newly hatched businesses—offering them the conference rooms, telecommunications infrastructure, etc. that they might not be able to afford otherwise—it’s becoming increasingly clear that these locations aren’t just for startups anymore. Boeing has an office in the Cortex Innovation Community (CIC) in St. Louis, and other corporations are moving their “innovation offices” into shared spaces to reap the benefits of being near innovators and doers. In fact, the city boasts upwards of 15 co-working spaces to meet demand—including T-REX, DK Annex, TechArtista, CIC, and Nebula. So consider a co-working space for your current or future office to take full advantage of the shared resources they provide and the possible chance to rub shoulders with corporate neighbors. They might just become your investors, clients, and/or business partners.
2. Premature scaling will hinder your ability to pivot.
A 2011 Startup Genome study that’s still sparking discussion analyzed more than 3,200 tech startups and found that premature scaling accounted for 70 percent of the failures seen. While it’s natural to assume that any growth is good, scaling too early can cause a startup to outrun its limited resources before achieving necessary benchmarks such as ironing out product issues, identifying a viable market and hiring key personnel to support growth.
You need to maintain enough capital and awareness while leaving room to pivot your business model and strategy as needed. Printfection Founder Casey Schorr says knowing when to pivot is a natural evolution. Before his company made its own pivot, Schorr and his team came to two realizations: First, they weren’t passionate about the company’s then business model, and second, their best customers were using their platform in a different way from how it was initially designed. Those two realizations helped the company determine when and how to pivot. Pivots, whether minor or major, can pave the way for real growth by allowing a startup to mature. Maintain a keen awareness of what growth your company can withstand and know how to say no to avoid biting off more than your team can chew.
3. Big corporations see potential in small startups.
In a broad array of industries such as finance, agriculture and manufacturing, big corporations have big challenges, and they’re increasingly looking to small startups for innovation solutions. According to a CB Insights report, VC investments backed by corporate budgets increased 2 percent from Q2 to Q3 of 2018.
After all, large, established corporations have the advantage of large, established budgets, but they often lack the agility that can help incubate innovation. Startups, on the other hand, can turn on a dime and accelerate into ideas without the burden of bureaucracy to hold them back. For new startup founders, it’s worth investigating how their endeavors could impact existing industries. Showcase that impact and value to large corporations, which could be promising sources of new funding and partnerships for your venture.
As a founder, you must constantly scan the horizon for new technological, operational or financial developments to give your startup the best possible chance of success. By knowing what’s happening now and what trends are predicted to make waves in the near future, you’ll be better equipped to chart a course that takes advantage of favorable winds while avoiding the rocky shoals.
January 13, 2019 at 07:20AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs