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Inside and outside, scrappy and established

scrappy and establishedIf you read my news updates, you might begin to think that everyone is getting funded and/or launching a new service. Part of this is what I have called the ‘excitement of the new‘ – we want to hear about anything new, even if it isn’t completely reflective of the industry we operate in on a day-to-day basis.

But the reality is, once you get your business up and running, you’re focused on more prosaic issues – acquiring clients; keeping clients; solving client problems; fixing things that are broken; and so on. Funding? Maybe when you get some time. Something new and exciting? Likewise.

Here’s another item to consider: what matters to a start-up – which is trying to push their way into the industry – is not necessarily what should matter to your business, which is already well established in the industry. They’re on the outside, trying to get in – and you’re on the inside, trying to get bigger. In other words, different market positions require different market actions. Let me explain.

Take funding. For the start-up, funding is a way of accelerating growth or even just building a minimum viable product. It can also be a way of differentiating from other start-ups – ‘Yes, we’re all building human marketplaces, but we got $5 million to do it!‘.

On the other hand, funding for you may not even matter. It may be something you avoid. Instead, you may be focused on ‘How do I cut the cost of candidate acquisition by 40%?’. Or ‘How do I extend our existing employer profile capabilities to include SMS?’. Sure, if someone handed you $2M with no string attached, it might help you solve those problems. But guess what? No one is going to hand you $2M with no strings attached. Sorry, folks.

Product development can look different when you’re further along in your company’s development as well. You may be looking at how you can build on existing capabilities that your clients like, instead of trying to create something ‘new and exciting’ that you’ll have to convince them to use. You may be focusing on getting deeper into the client’s candidate acquisition process – getting beyond ‘job ads and resumes’.

By all means, continue reading my news updates! But just remember – where your business is at in its life cycle can determine product and growth strategy. Or…different strokes for different folks.

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