Why do 75 percent of most technology startups fail? The shortcoming to adapt.
According to Mashable, successful startups are “flexible enough to shift with changes in the tech climate. Whereas with the failed startups… you will find a lack of foresight which can have saved their companies." Is practical, right? Technology evolves quickly. Maturing with it is important.
Adapt or die.
How exactly to Always Be Prepared to Adapt Your Business to improve
More generally, though, adaptability is paramount to any successful business. It reflects learning and the more you find out about your market, the better you can tweak, refine and optimize (see PayPal, Twitter, etc.).
I understand this much better than most that creating a business with the capacity of flexibility is simpler said than done. When I launched my company, VMR, in ’09 2009, the category we were in was so new and controversial that its direction could shift dramatically in a year. We’d to be equipped for that. Five years later, we’re still here and growing. Here’s how exactly we achieved it:
1. Spend money on R&D. For just about any technology company, research and development ought to be your top asset. It allows you to lean into market changes and react to customer needs. Constant experimentation can spark new, unseen opportunities to create added growth and value.
For example, in regards to a year after VMR was up-and-running, everyone explained to purchase brand awareness but creating a brand has little value if your flagship product can’t evolve for your visitors. I knew that people needed to be product-focused, first and foremost. Rather than shelling out for branding, we committed to engineering. It was the proper decision. Dedicated R&D teams drive innovation and efficiency, clearing a way to continued success.
2. Talk (and listen) to your visitors. Don’t hesitate of negative feedback. The positive stuff is a wonderful ego boost but it’s the blunt critique that basically helps push a business forward. Implement a scalable system at launch which allows you to regularly ask customers what they just like the least, uncover pet peeves and source honest, candid feedback. At VMR, we do that via an open forum on our website. The more you understand your visitors, the more flexible you could be meeting their needs.
Having said that, not all comments from customers is actionable, or ought to be. Whatever your business, spend money on analytics to corroborate feedback. These tools may also help identify the more elusive patterns in user behavior that talk with shifting tides.
3. Consider the contrary. It’s beneficial to consider what your business isn’t. For instance, if you’re an online-only company, regularly measure the great things about brick-and-mortar and vice versa. This can help you deliberate new means of doing things that could ultimately improve existing operations.
Take Warby Parker. An online-only business at launch, the startup quickly realized the advantages of having a normal brick-and-mortar retail presence. Despite the fact that their online sales were thriving and it took nearly 3 years to get ready, they unveiled their first store this past year.
With regards to Business Crises, A.D.A.P.T. if not
4. Hire entrepreneurs. Adding associates with entrepreneurial backgrounds is an advantage. They often times have a “big picture” view of several industries with creative, new convinced that allows your business to be malleable if change is necessary. They have vision and understand change as progression. Moreover, though, they understand failure and how exactly to recover through adaptation. That is a style of hiring that Facebook, specifically, has championed to obvious effectiveness.
Of course, a core team made up of entrepreneurs has its group of unique challenges. They could be hard to retain and may even grow into competitors later on. However the risk is a lot more than worthwhile for early-stage companies wanting to build an agile business and infrastructure.
5. Be lean, stay lean. Maintaining a lean and streamlined startup makes flexibility possible. Focus resources and capital on the core regions of your business. Don’t hesitate to generate outside partners to fill gaps or help execute on potential opportunities. Doing an excessive amount of by yourself simply doesn’t work. It’s expensive and capital-intensive to build out entirely new operational units, divisions, etc.
For example, VMR can be an ecommerce company. Whenever we sought retail distribution, instead of do it ourselves, we partnered with a company which has existing retail relationships. This allowed us to keep focusing on what we do best-design and engineer great products.
You can’t ever confidently predict the continuing future of the marketplace, or how your customers’ needs changes. Wayne Gretzky once said that he tried to “skate where in fact the puck is certainly going, not where it’s been.” For startups, the puck is always moving, nevertheless, you can prepare by instilling flexibility into your business design from day one, and augmenting it with a genuine sense of urgency. That flexibility will allow you to navigate and evolve, while also assisting you get yourself a sense of the top winds prior to they arrive.