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Startups, did you know big companies envy you?

Startups, big companies envy you. Reason being – you’re small. 

They, big companies, wish they could be small but they can’t. Hence nowadays they have varied tricks to make themselves feel young again – from buying out small businesses (they didn’t get to you yet?), withholding (real and helpful) resources to help small businesses, to trying to have access to small businesses through enterprise development programmes to leverage on small business owners thinking. 

Big companies wish they can be small again but they cannot afford to because they have rigid structures. They have a lot to lose should something go wrong in their attempt to adapt. 

It’s a David-Goliath situation we have here.

You as a startup are David. What changed is that the Goliath, big companies, now are no longer underestimating you. If anything; the good ones are trying to create opportunities for you where they can also benefit, and the bad ones are seducing you with opportunities that will distract you.

Example of a good company: Invests in you and is transparent about the catch. 

Bad companies: Their compensation plan is always exposure focused – PR stunts. We will give you a glamorous title (eg. Rising star) – and withhold a computer you need to grow your business.

At some point the media features lose value, they need to stop and real and results based support must begin. The building and growing of a business must start. 

Back to you as a startup being the greatest enemy; that’s actually a great thing. It’s an incomparable competitive advantage (CA) over big companies. You’d think because they have resources they have CA more than you. But one thing that no resource can buy is changing your mind. As a startup you can embark on experimental learning – like literally spend the whole year testing if your business model really works, check what trends to pay attention to and integrate innovative technologies in your model, and then after that in the second year, scale boom just like that. Big companies don’t have the time. 

Like don’t you think Google could have started Facebook? 

And that Microsoft could’ve started Google? 

Like why did they “let” that happen, how did they miss it? – because they didn’t have time. They probably thought of it but they couldn’t risk it. They probably didn’t think of it because they didn’t have time to be researching the next thing. 

Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp is just an example of a company that’s under pressure; Facebook is ran by a futuristic person who pays attention. Already they can see what’s next so to avoid having someone (other than them) snatch the opportunity of being a leader in social networking, they buy them out. Its a retaliation move. 

They’ll probably buy Snapchat soon. If you’re paying attention, Facebook wants to own the whole ecosystem. Look at the features they’re adding every now and then. It’s no longer about connecting people for socializing. They want a hub where you can experience LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, Twitter etc. 

Okay I’m stopping here. Bottom line; by virtue of being a startup – you’re a threat to big businesses and also you are on the right side of history. You have the potential to build an entrepreneurial corporate.

About Kgadi Mmanakana

Professional Consultant, Speaker and Scholar on Entrepreneurship on Entrepreneurship and Strategy