The term Startup has invaded our dictionaries heavily in the past 5 years. It’s been overused and abused. Here, I explain why most businesses are not a startup.
If you are a newly established design agency, you are not a startup.
If you have a small law firm, you’re not a startup.
Running a salon on the side? Nope. Not a startup.
Selling t-shirts online? Yep. Still not a startup.
Unique concept bakery? You guessed it. Not a startup.
Providing consultancy services? Not even close. Not a startup.
New restaurant around the corner? Don’t think so. Not a startup.
Got a hobby app with thousands of downloads? Sorry. Not a startup.
In most cases, you are not a startup. You might have been referred to as a Startup, but that doesn’t make you one.
Here’s what makes you a Startup:
You’re solving a problem with uncertainty of what the solution may be? Nice.
You have potential for exponential growth and scale? Sweet.
Congratulations. You are now a startup.
Truth of the matter is; a startup is not defined by its age, number of employees, or revenue. It is instead defined by its ability to scale, while innovating a solution to a problem that either hasn’t been solved before, or is 10x better than the previous solution.
There’s a perception that a startup has to be a tech related business. The reason why that is almost always true is that scale can only be achieved by automation. Automation can be achieved with either humans, or technology. And although both are possible, history has shown the latter to be a lot better at getting that job done.
Being a startup is not a prestigious title. You don’t have to be a startup to do a great job, solve a problem, or make a lot of money. If you don’t check those 2 boxes, you’re probably an SME (small or medium establishment). I thank you for doing an amazing job. The world needs more of you. But you’re not a startup.