4 Lessons Startups Can Learn from Small Businesses

May 16, 2016 - 3 minutes read

unicorn startup

According to CB Insights, only 1.28% of startups become unicorns. Does that make the other 98.72% failures? Hardly.

In startup culture — and even more so in venture capital culture — there’s a tendency to overlook the value of thinking small. While it’s true that a business model that can’t scale to a billion dollar business won’t turn heads among investors looking for the next Instagram, that doesn’t mean it should be tossed on the scrap heap. Especially when you consider how little room there is for iPhone app developers that can emulate the success of unicorn startups, shooting for a million-dollar business with a high chance of success often makes more sense than shooting for a billion-dollar business and failing.

Big-picture doesn’t have to mean big-frame

Whatever the motivation, it’s important to remember that big-picture thinking doesn’t have to result in a huge business. If a small app that solves a simple problem fits into your narrative as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t abandon it simply because it doesn’t “scale.” Instead, you should concentrate on making your app as beautiful and useful as possible. Getting millions in venture capital doesn’t matter if you can build a profitable, sustainable startup without it.

Focus on the individual experience

Small businesses have a huge advantage when it comes to delivering tailored experiences to individual customers. While some large-scale startups are able to create experiences with a similar feel (FinTech mobile app Simple, for example) using high-cost US-based call centers and cutting-edge UX design, small startups can often undercut their efforts to deliver services in whatever niche they’re targeting.

Don’t do what other startups do just to fit in

The startup scene can be an insular place — which is ironic, for a culture based on avoiding the “herd mentality” at all costs. In the quest to become the next Facebook, many of your competitors are likely to overlook viable opportunities. Atlanta iPhone app developers who leverage small wins can ultimately earn the big ones in the long run.

Follow the passion project

iPhone app developers found startups for different reasons. Some are trying to solve problems for people. Some are simply trying to get rich. Most are motivated by some combination of the two.

So long as you’re creating a business you and your team are passionate about, the bottom line shouldn’t be at the center of discussions. If it’s profitable, it’s a win — regardless of whether or not it grows to be a unicorn.

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