It is essential to leave behind the “it has always been done like this” and nourish yourself with the experiences and learnings of the startup ecosystem.
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Startups have been a key element in refocusing industries and markets, thanks to their perspective of challenging the “we have always done it this way” to consider new solutions, which leads to various learnings and experiences: from developing new lines of business, entering new countries, adapt to new cultural approaches until seeking financing.
According to the study of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): “Large companies, startups and innovation in Latin America. Promises and Challenges ”, one of the features that differentiate Latin American ecosystems from other more developed ones is the low articulation of large companies with the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, which translates into wasting knowledge on the part of new entrepreneurs as well how to create barriers -which should not exist- for the emergence of dynamic enterprises.
That is why -at least for the next few years- it is essential to leave behind the “it has always been done this way” and nourish ourselves with the experiences and learnings of the startup ecosystem, to be able to adapt to a different world than the one we leave in -what seems Already a long time ago- 2020, where trends have strengthened, consumers move faster, it is essential to establish a network of allies with increasingly broad approaches, in addition to a necessary digitization where we guarantee not to lose control of our businesses.
What are the main learnings that traditional businesses can take from the startup approach?
Innovate, innovate and innovate again. It is very easy for a business concept to be “caught up” by the competition. There will always be someone willing to offer the market a cheaper, more comfortable or closer product than yours, so the fundamental thing is to be in constant improvement. One of the main barriers is considering that innovation belongs only to one area of the business or only applies to final products. Innovation is a comprehensive process, in which the entire organization participates and encompasses all critical operational aspects: from processes to delivery of the product or service to the user.
Trust your differentiators (and continually seek to strengthen them). Almost all the entrepreneurs I know are very clear about their source of concern: how to finance the project? One of the learnings we’ve had at Justo is: focus on differentiators. For us, it was a challenge to enter a market dominated by apps to order food delivery.
We change the focus: we want to offer a platform for restaurant owners to have control of the business. With this approach, we were able to be part of the Y Combinator acceleration program and begin our expansion process throughout Latin America.
Explore different paths. Startups have been characterized by telling a story different from the path of traditional entrepreneurship. An example is the search for allies and attracting the interest of investors interested in adding value to the business, beyond capital, as well as entering new markets. In all these aspects, it is essential to investigate and learn about the various laws of each country, in order to highlight the strengths of the projects.
As entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to have a rapid response approach to the changes that we may observe in our clients, partners and environment. I know it may seem that we are building the plane where we are flying: that is one of the most important learnings: remembering that the constant is to change and adapt.