If you pay a bit of attention to the business new you will have heard the term “startup” more than once, but unless you pay a bit more attention to the business news you might not actually know what a startup is. As industry experts like John Bradberry Charlotte NC can explain, a startup is something that is defined differently depending on who you ask. However, most people agree that startups are businesses that are bringing something new to a potentially market, are only a few years old if that, and have a potential for huge success and huge failure.
Does that help? Maybe not, because it is not entirely clear how a startup is different than any other new small business. That said, there are a few key characteristics of each that can help us to distinguish one from the other.
Startups see growth differently
First, it is important to note that most, but not all, startups are technology-based – either their product is some form of technological innovation, or their business is conducted entirely online. This allows startups to have a different vision of growth than a traditional business. The latter will tend to be producing goods or offering services that are fairly restricted in terms of geography or industry. In that sense, they have a relatively small market initially – while they certainly hope to expand that market, they don’t expect that this will happen over-night. Startups, on the other hand, have potentially huge markets right from day one, and as a result they expect and plan for rapid growth.
Startups are scalable
This is one of the most important features of a startup, and is the key to being able to achieve rapid growth. A scalable product or process is one that can be rapidly and practically endlessly reproduced without a significant cost. For example, a piece of software is the perfect scalable product – it required an investment of research and time to develop it, and more to produce the very first copy. However, at very little cost that piece of software can be copied endlessly and sold to a global market, thus making the return on the initial investment very significant.
Startups are funded by venture capital firms or “angel investors”
Most people who are starting their own small business will secure a bank loan or grant in order to fund it in the early days. However, startups are funded by investors who are looking for an opportunity to receive quick profits on their investment – which is why the ability to grow rapidly with a scalable product is so vital.
These are just a few of the key differences between a small business and a startup. Clearly, each type of business requires a different set of skills and a different approach to doing business.