In 2007, Airbnb appeared on the scene and completely changed the world of travel and hospitality. But unbeknownst to its three, 30-something founders, they forged a new path for startups.
Uber, Spanx, and NetJets also blazed trails from zero to millions nearly from inception. These standouts have rewritten the rules of building a business, proving innovative startups can play on the same field as their much larger competitors. So how did they do it?
According to business and marketing experts like Ed O'Keefe, modern longevity has everything to do with eliminating risks. When timeworn manuals advising slow-and-steady wins the business race were tossed out by innovators, a unique phenomenon was enabled, challenging much of what we know about the formula for success.
O'Keefe, the founder of EOK Marketing, who has just written a book about a theory he calls "time collapsing," says leaders who practice his theory--which can be summarized as the process of speeding up success--incorporate digital tools and innovation into their business's essence. "It isn't just one thing that leads to ignition," he says of his theory. "Multiple methods have been adjusted and optimized to permit more instantaneous gratification."
O'Keefe outlines other practices used by upstarts like Airbnb and Uber to accelerate success:
1. Leapfrog over older organizations.
This is the action taken when someone skips several stairs--typically paving the way to success. Instead of implementing a plan to increase metrics by x amount month over month, modern marketing means money can be made faster, and companies can cement their footing sooner.
Older establishments are finding younger companies competing neck-and-neck, because the steps 21st-century startups must take to reach their pinnacles are fewer and take less time to institute.
2. Consider a contrarian view to speed up emotional attachment.
In the case of Spanx, Sara Blakely inventoried the plagues of the undergarment industry. Instead of noting the wins of longer-lasting brands and consumer devotion, Blakely took everything she didn't know and based her standards on non-information.
For decades, intimate apparel manufacturers had adhered to few absolutes. They'd used the same material forever--even though it was scratchy, awkward, and ill fitting. They'd ensured their designs fit a mannequin. But Blakely broke that two-step mold when she created something she loved that was comfortable to wear, in a material she adored. And finally, she tested her prototype on humans.
In a world where no updated and intuitive patterns existed, Blakely devised her own. When consumers got wind of her impressive unmentionables, sales skyrocketed. Blakely collapsed time by engineering new guidelines for research and development, and instead of waiting for consumers to become loyal, she sped up their emotional attachment.
3. Scoop up customers through unique inventory and inventive services.
Airbnb used the collateral of participating members' houses. Uber snapped up their drivers' cars, and in doing so, both elementary-age firms displayed marketing prowess. Their potential wasn't contained by a lack of funds needed to acquire product. Instead, they expanded their resources by using abstract solutions to leap everyday hurdles.
4. Climb as high as you want.
No companies need grant you the right to pass, to take their place--or to topple them. You are clear to climb as high as you want, and you are provided level playing terrain through the existence of free enterprise.
Simplify and cut shipping, eliminate overhead, identify your dream client--and then replicate the steps to actualize early success.
5. Put your company on the map through the law of opposites.
Dollar Shave Club, which was recently purchased by Unilever for $1 billion, tackled the micro-industry by refusing to follow the same old dusty plan. When high-quality affordable generic razors became obtainable at reasonable rates through subscription, consumers beat down the door. By positioning with a price incapable of sinking much lower, demand went up. So did profits.
6. Be powerful because you're small and flexible.
Your company must be nimble and allow you to control your presence, costs, and inventory. Multimillion- and billion-dollar corporations have discovered that massive footprints limit prosperity. But the new entrepreneur doesn't need to lease a monstrous space. The staff should be remote, the product moved on demand, and the SMM analytics liberated from third-party consultants. The business should operate location-free.
7. Use the right technology and tools for zero-barrier entry into the marketplace.
The same tools are available to businesses of any size and are accessible to entrepreneurs. Anyone can develop a relationship with a delivery company, pop up a website in minutes offering packages for immediate purchase, and send automated emails.
You also have access to breakthrough marketing and innovation at your fingertips. My agency, Trepoint, for example, leverages the power of influencer marketing to deliver 11X higher ROI for companies of all sizes. Outsourcing your lead generation and marketing support needs is yet another way to squeeze time.
In this modern marketplace with a zero-barrier entry, nothing is stopping you from going head-to-head with the leaders of an industry--the same way the creative founders of zero-to-millions companies like Airbnb and Uber have.
How can you apply these insights? What aspects of your business can you immediately time collapse and reap the rewards?
One of the best pieces of advice I have received was to do what I do best and outsource the rest. Time collapsing is another powerful way to accomplish this objective.