One of the best things about the start up mentality is the hunger. It's the "can't and won't fail" attitude that keeps you going, even when there's little or no money in your pocket. As companies grow, complacence sets in, and people often forget what made them successful in the first place.
A little background on my Startup story: My startup's background is interesting - MarketMeSuite was founded by a New Yorker (me) and a tech geek (Alan) from Norfolk who met online. After working remotely, I (the CEO) moved my entire family to the UK, so I could be with the tech team. We now work as a team of 4/5 from an office in Gorleston near Norwich and are creating a global success story.
So here I am, living the experience, and here to remind you how to find that "startup drive" in your business.
1. Stay Relevant
One of the biggest challenges for a startup is not being left behind. Often success depends on being first or second out of the gate. Apply this to your business, even if you've been around the block a few times. What are your competitors doing? Do you have your finger on the pulse of your industry in real time? If you're not signing into Twitter at least twice a day to see what is going on in this crazy fast paced world, you're missing a trick.
2. Get Seen
General awareness is huge. As CEO of MarketMeSuite I often have crazy daydreams of running through the offices of Mashable naked just to get the attention I feel we deserve, but you have to constantly think "Where can I get my company featured?" There's a lot of sites that accept contributions. SocialMediaToday.com and WeAreSocialPeople.com accept guest posts and center around social media, so why not write a story about how social media is working for your particular business?
Do some search for industry publications and offer to "guest post." Much of my day is spent finding places I can contribute content. All it costs is time! (And I haven't completely ruled out the 'streaking through major publications office' approach ;))
Startups are famous for getting into bed with other startups to amplify their message. A lot of this comes down to lack of budget, but heck, it works. Identify people in your industry and do something together. The founder of Constant Contact, Alec Stern, put it best to me, "A little "coopertition" goes a long way!"
4. Eat Cheap
You'll rarely find a startup team wasting a whole lot of money. I can count the times we've had a "nice meal out" at MarketMeSuite on one hand. I mean, don't starve, but watching the pennies is a good habit to get in, and stay in. Larger companies, more established companies, well funded companies, can often fall into the "luxury" trap. Money isn't so easy to come by these days, so don't squander it, no matter how successful you are.
5. Dream Big
Success in a startup always go back to an almost delusional company dream of success. You have to want it, you have to want it so bad that it drives every action you do in your business. A lot of more "mature" companies forget this drive, and they wind up becoming complacent. Never lose the hunger, never lose the drive.
Key Take Away:
No matter what level your company is at, thinking like a startup is a great way to get back in touch with the passion you need to run a successful business. I'd love to hear any startup success stories, or how you're keeping that drive alive in your own company, so please comment.