Business Transformation

How Big Companies Can Innovate Like Small Start-ups?

The Indian market is on a roll, with startup’s mushrooming and flourishing at an unfathomable rate, this has left big corporations pondering over what could be the secret concoction to their rolling success. The unicorns have hogged the limelight for quite some time, they are more like an overnight sensation, and this has left everyone’s eyeballs rolling !

Startup’s have emerged as the reigning emperors of the industry and have created a niche in almost every sector, from fintech to even e-commerce. These newbies are not just forward thinkers, they have a growth mindset that is an embedded part of their DNA . The megacorps in the market now want to emulate the culture of these new-age trendsetters and newsmakers.  

Changemakers are risk-takers, and they are audacious dreamers! One such bold step landed Licious, the online meat delivery platform, as one of the fastest-growing companies in India. Customer focus and strategy is driven have been the key reasons for their phenomenal success. Their key strategy was to satiate a market hungry for quality meat. Their brand today boasts excellent customer service and an easy-to-use interface.

Licious was well aware of the psyche of their customer base, hence offering a wide range of meat, poultry, and seafood, and more importantly, meat that had been through stringent and multiple quality checks. Another important move has been to diversify their business, what started in Delhi and NCR is today spread across a vast geography pan India. Putting several irons on the fire has been a game changer, in short, diversifying in terms of services and products can work wonders for any business to skyrocket in record time!

1 mg India’s first online pharmacy is another classic example of cashing in on customer satisfaction. In a market with few trusted online pharmacy brands, 1 mg, forayed into a sector that had been tapped by many, though not with much success. Their USP has been about providing a wide range of products and medication at affordable prices. Tending to customer satisfaction is the reason why start up’s have always been bullish in the market!

Most often, success stories of startups are linked to having a strong VC, but on the contrary, having a robust team with people driven to make a difference, people who are not just another cog in the wheel, those who can think out of the box is what can really help a company scale heights.

One such story was slated by Unacademy. Five years into the online education platform and they are already a sensation. They joined the bandwagon of online learning platforms at a time when this mode of learning was hardly popular, despite which it shot to fame as India’s no: 1 education portal. Their strategy was clear -cut i.e. to offer affordable quality education to all.

Today the platform offers a fleet of close to 1000 courses and a customer base of 1 million. Start up’s like Unacademy go to prove that taking calculated risks and etching out a detailed blueprint in terms of hiring, continuously updating their courses, and staying relevant with the changing times can surely reap benefits. Unacademy has been very choosy about the team they hire on board, having a rock-solid team is almost half the battle won. A team whose vision and passion are aligned with the company’s mission would help navigate any business to achieve the pinnacle of success. 

A common thread among all successful start up’s is the drive and passion that the founders hold. Their progressive thinking, insightfulness into a core problem and their ability to gauge the weak links and pain points in the system is outstanding. Their unique business model and urge to make a change for the betterment of the fraternity, by providing solutions and ideas that are different yet viable is something that established businesses need to look out for.Successful start up’s bring freshness to the table, they have some unique propositions and their products cater to a particular niche rather than for a mass market.

With the life span of any technology being around three to five years, businesses will need to stay abreast with changing trends in order to meet the needs of the market.

Paytm a mobile payment platform, took 7 years to reach billion-dollar valuations in comparison to MPL (Mobile Premier League) which rose to the same level in a fraction of the time. So what has helped such companies to make it to the top at breakneck speed?

It is innovation and innovators at these firms that have a creative bent of mind. Innovation needs to be embraced as an ingrained part of company culture to stay ahead of competitors and to have an edge in the market. Innovators have plenty of Eureka and aha moments that lead them to bring about radical changes in the system.

These right-brainers are wired to think differently and hunt down solutions for every obstacle. Every stumbling block is an opportunity in turn to churn out something viable. It’s more like a skill and acumen which sharpens with time. They don’t just toy with ideas, but 

The big corporations who want to blitzkrieg into the market and become the reigning tycoons will have to accept uncertainty, ambiguity, and challenges, especially when tweaking strategies and plans aimed at better growth. Getting snug in a cocoon will only dampen their chance to stand out. Nasscom estimates that India will have 100 new unicorns by the year 2025. If startup begins to emerge at this rate, the market scene may look different with the big corporations slowly phasing out!


Written by Vikas Chadha.
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Vikas Chadha
Vikas Chadha is the Managing Director at Global Infotech and a qualified Chartered Accountant with successful stints with Brands like Berggruen Hotels (Keys Hotels), Tata Global beverages, Bharti Airtel, Thomas Cook, Marico Ltd and Mahindra etc. Vikas is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Management accountants -UK as “One of the Most influential CFO’s of India”. Vikas was also awarded as Best CFO Hospitality and Services at the Asia CFO Excellence awards, Singapore. He writes for CEO world, New York and for Economic Times, HT Mint, Business World and is an active speaker on Bloomberg, CNBC. Vikas is the Author of the Best seller “ Secret of success and a Happy Heart ” where he shared his Mantra for success and happiness. Vikas Chadha is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. He can be found on Linkedin.