As your company grows, maintaining that innovative knack for growth that got you there is simpler said than done. Many a business proprietor — at least those luckily enough to found a company that will take off — finds him or herself over time pondering, “am I still a business owner?”
Successful startups reach a spot of which that magic starts to fade, the thrill of the hunt becomes muted and it feels similar to regular old business management, instead of the run-and-gun entrepreneurship that got them there.
This feeling is often preceded by too little inspiration, plus a insufficient focus, on how to proceed next to sustain that growth.
The transition of trying to direct a cruise liner, rather than nimble speed boat, often leads entrepreneurs to struggle — sometimes even costing them their company, as the case with Groupon’s Andrew Mason.
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The instincts and bootstrapping that got you there won’t keep you there. A far more disciplined framework is necessary. Incidentally, this can be a challenge that brand managers in big companies face each day. The wonder is, by following innovation equation, entrepreneurial growth could be accomplished in even the largest organization. Even though it’s not easy, it really is simple.
To operate a vehicle successful innovation, three components are essential: an audience, a need and design DNA, or how you’re uniquely accomplishing this.
In the startup phase, most founders automatically have one “constant” to that they cling. Whether it’s an engineer applying physics to produce a new heart valve (design DNA), a coder writing an algorithm for a fresh diet app (a felt need), or a mom-preneur seeking to social media for moms to meet up other moms (an audience), their constant may be the key to solving for the other two variables.
As your company grows, however, a growing number of options emerge, making the constant ever-more obscured by an ever-expanding selection of options. The best way to recapture that focus to lead the business in to the next phase — and doing this in a lean, agile way — includes re-establishing the constant to steer your work.
May be the audience your constant? Are you aware them? Is it possible to describe the audience as if you would a friend? Is it possible to explain their tastes, fears, likes, dislikes and characteristics?
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Do you at least find out about them? Is it possible to explain how old they are, where they shop, where kind of community they reside?
For example, in the event that you know them, you might be addressing a group you understand intimately, such as for example classic car enthusiasts. In the event that you know about them, you might be thinking about growing your brand’s market tell Millennials, for instance. Either is the right constant that to work. Otherwise, move on.
May be the felt need your constant? This territory becomes a little more nuanced, however the simple summary of it falls with the next two questions: What does industry need? What’s scarce?
If you’ve identified a felt need and also have a pretty good response to those questions, you’ve probably found your constant. Don’t forget that second one, though. It’s a common trap for larger organizations to spotlight needs, ignoring whether scarcity exists that may create a genuine advantage.
For instance, it’s easy to see that folks need energy. It’s also easy to see that energy drinks aren’t scarce. So, you might discover that people need energy in a manner that won’t leave them feeling jittery. Now you almost certainly have a constant that to work. You can go about identifying who most needs this, and how you’ll uniquely deliver it.
Is design DNA your constant? An excellent example of that is whenever your technical co-founder walks in with a killer new algorithm he wrote (or the same in your world). Now you have the look DNA — the ability — as your constant, as well as your job becomes determining who needs it, and which felt needs it solves.
These three is a practicable constant, and a surefire way to lead your team beyond the churn that often includes innovation in established companies. Simply identifying your constant can not only make sure you create substantive innovation platforms, but that you lead your team towards growth with the very best, best foot forward.
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