3 Tips Startups Can Use To Stay Agile

Innovation and the idea of creating the next big thing is tantalizing in theory—but how easy is it to do for large companies with layers of product and idea vetting processes, regulatory and political constraints?

In a LinkedIn post, entrepreneur and investor Yann Girard, wrote that corporations are too riddled with red tape, regulations, protocol, politics, CYA and fear of risk for their employees to take on the unknowns associated with the practices of startups, where immense rewards loom on the distant seashore but the waters that must be traversed to get there are laden with sharks.

So, if you want to infuse more of a startup philosophy into your organization, what can you do?

sandbox IT

1. Give employees sandbox opportunities

When we talk about a sandbox, we’re usually talking about an IT area (like big data) where employees can experiment with different theories with the understanding that while a great idea might bubble to the top, more often than not, many experimental efforts will fail.

If employees know that their superiors understand this, it cures the fear that employees have of failure and allows them to create. There is also no reason why this sandbox concept can’t be extended to non-technology areas such as customer service, manufacturing, purchasing and even HR.

2. Reward Creative Work

If an employee comes up with a concept or an idea that brings something new and better into the organization, the organization should recognize it. Employees need to know that the company values creative innovation.


3. Invest In Creative Talent

Individuals who demonstrate remarkable creative talent should be cultivated and encouraged—and not stuck in line functions that bore them until they leave. Remember, your intellectual capital (in the form of people) is your most valuable asset.

Risk taking and mitigation, even in startups, should be a regular exercise. If you are in a leadership position, it is important to foster innovation, no matter the size of the organization.

What Strategic Change Was Key to Accelerating Growth?

Pie chart and bar chartEntrepreneurs discuss candid tips at an eLuminate Entrepreneur Conference. Sandi Webster, Principal of Consultants 2 Go gives insight about a strategic change she made that was key to accelerating her company’s growth.



10 Rookie Startup Mistakes To Avoid

Top 10 Startup Mistakes An Early Startup Must Avoid

The importance of avoiding “premature deal adulation”; why entrepreneurs shouldn’t put a barrier between themselves and an investor by giving them anti-dilution; and how a startup can avoid losing focus on execution.

Common startup mistakes founders make is using “China Syndrome Analysis” when describing the market potential of their business.  There are very few startup companies that will successfully capture even 1% of a one billion consumer market, so it is foolish to use that as the basis for your projections.

Entrepreneurs need to focus on addressable market segmentation and how they can meet their financial projections. How they will grow their businesses is what’s crucial. Founders should focus on how they will succeed through execution and addressable market segmentation to avoid these common startup mistakes.

Source: docstocTV | John Greathouse, General Partner, Rincon Venture Partners



Stop Building Products No One Wants

Pivot and Stop Spending Time on Faith-Based Initiatives

Sharon R. Brown | @sharonRbrown1

Taking untested, unvalidated products and services to market is not a smart idea. As an entrepreneur, you must focus on testing assumptions, or you risk wasting people’s time by bringing products to market that no one wants.

Eric Ries makes the point that startups are experiments that are comprised of ideas, products, and services.  Like with any startup, somethings will be successful and somethings will fail.  Therefore, you must be prepared to pivot and change directions when necessary.  Successful pivots include taking feedback and learning from the customer discovery process, and applying the information to a newer version of the product or service.

Successful entrepreneurs take a “zig-zag path” from eventual idea to success.  However, success can be obtained faster when you minimize the time between pivots.  Bottomline; no matter how great you think your product is, if no one is using it, then you clearly have built the wrong thing.

Make adjustments fast.  Milestones and schedules don’t matter if you developed a product or service that no one wants.  Don’t just have faith that someone wants your product, validate your learning

Entrepreneurs should focus on how many pivots they have left, instead of how much money they have left.  Learn from Eric Ries’ mistake; you don’t need to code 40,000 lines of code to know that your customers don’t want your product.  Pivot now and stop building products that no one wants.

Source: Eric Ries



Twitter Does Not Disrupt Traditional Media

Twitter Compliments Traditional Media Rather Than Disrupt

eLuminate Note: Fast forward video to 09:11 to view key parts of the discussion

Technology companies in the social media space are typically thought of as disruptors to television programming. However, Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, thinks Twitter compliments traditional media instead of disrupting the space.

If you are an entrepreneur in the tech space, with a social interaction product, you may want to consider ways in which your product adds to the user experience by complimenting media.

Now that almost anyone has access to tools that allow easy distribution of media, news gets disseminated in seconds.  The speed with which information gets pushed out around the globe is likely to shift the focus of television, print and radio news.  News organizations may have to rethink the business they are in and go back to their original roots of curating, analyzing, and synthesizing information.  No longer should news outlets try to compete with the immediacy of information on social media.

It is expected by most people that Twitter would try to crush any and all media that competes for eyeballs. Instead, Costolo emphasizes that Twitter and television can co-exist and compliment one another.

So, what does this mean for startups? As an entrepreneur, the so-called “obvious” threats to your business may include companies that have synergies that can be leveraged.  Consider possible opportunities for increased advertising revenue, content distribution, product expansion, etc.

Also, disruption may not only occur in the way that you planned. For example, you may not achieve world domination of every media outlet, but you may reshape the way your competition does business.  Similar to the possible return to the original roots of journalism, disruption may cause your competition to reinvent the way they deliver their product or service.

Source: Dick Costolo



Kinkos Co-Founder Shares Advice On Running A Startup

In this video, former Kinkos co-founder, Bernard Perrine, gives advice to entrepreneurs and discusses his startup.  Leveraging a team and transferring corporate skills to entrepreneurship. eLuminate Entrepreneur Profile Series moderated by eLuminate Network founder & CEO, Sharon R. Brown (@heysharonbrown).

Register for your free eLuminate membership to find out when additional clips from the series will be posted.