Your Big Competitive Advantage
Speed is one of the most talked about things in start-up culture.
But in my experience rarely do you actually see companies operating with true speed.
But before we jump into why that is, let’s discuss why speed is even important for start-ups.
Early stage start-ups are a bit like explorers. They are in constant search of finding things.
Finding product market fit
Finding the right features to build
Finding acquisition channels
Finding the right verticals to target
Finding the right messaging to use
The known and predictable realities of their business are often very small. The unknown however is vast and often where all of the big opportunities lie. And this is why speed is so important.
Embracing speed allows them to try things at a faster pace - shipping product features, testing marketing channels, testing messaging variations, designs etc.
The faster they can get to answers, even when the answer is failure, the closer they are to finding success. To finding the big opportunities for their business.
Speed is also what gives early stage companies a fighting chance against large incumbent companies. Once companies get to a large enough size, operating at such a high velocity becomes much harder. Larger companies have tons of dependencies that make things work and failure can jeopardize that. So they are risk adverse and have infrastructure and processes to protect themselves from these risks.
What that means for early stage companies though is if you can find a success lane that the behemoths haven’t tapped into yet, then you have a head start and can run much further down that path than they ever would be able to.
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So then why don’t all start-ups operate this way?
The honest answer is that it isn’t baked into their culture. They say speed is a priority but their actions show otherwise.
They prioritize not failing, and build a culture where failure is a negative.
They confuse speed with sloppiness.
They assume dependencies and over complicate issues.
But if companies are operating at a high speed, rapid failure is going to happen. And that is a good thing if you are learning from those failures. They should be celebrated.
As a result they are slow and lose one of the biggest competitive advantages they can have as an early stage start-up, speed.