How do entrepreneurs stop being entrepreneurs? Why do entrepreneurs stop innovating?
All the startups stop innovating at some point in time and it is expected that innovation cycles tend to end. After a certain number of years spent on innovating, creating, evolving, and expanding the product, all entrepreneurs go all out towards an enormous sales push. This is when innovation becomes just another department instead of being the core of a startup.
Increased focus on sales and growth is a natural step in the life cycle of any company. However, it does not mean that innovation has to be put on the backburner after the company becomes successful. Presented below are some signs that can help warn entrepreneurs about deficient innovation and extra attention on newfound success.
- Divergence from customer service to the growth of company: Once people start buying the products of a startup, it no longer remains just a startup and becomes a real company. This results in an increased focus on ensuring that the company begins functioning as a real corporate machine, with meetings, vision plans, by-laws, teams, core values, meetings, and reporting, etc. Due to such excess focus on producing and delivering goods, entrepreneurs often forget about serving the customers. It is important to remember that startups have to continue to park some time towards serving the needs of their clients.
- Increased spotlight on data: Data or numbers become the driving factor for all companies as they start achieving success. The display of high sales numbers gives a kind of rush that is hard to ignore. This may make entrepreneurs lose the focus on what exactly is driving the sales. Why are the customers buying the product? It is always important to keep a lookout for different market factors to remain successful instead of just basking in the glory of amazing revenue and sales figures.
- Maintenance of status quo: After a startup becomes successful, entrepreneurs tend to stick to the success model so as to avoid rocking the boat. They start fearing that if they change anything, then it can prove detrimental to the company. This is the attitude that entrepreneurs have to take great care to avoid. There has to be a continuous review of what works and what does not work. One can integrate the ‘tried, tested, and successful’ work-models into the core mechanism of the company. And all the things that are not working to the optimum, or which are dragging down the company’s overall performance, need to be revamped. Constant innovation is what will ensure that the company remains at the top!
- Keep a vigil on time given to innovation and experimentation: Whilst a startup is in the initial phase, a lot of time is given to experimentation, trying new products and features, etc. Such trails and errors tend to continue until the products begin selling and the company slowly becomes successful. Once the company is a success, several constraints get placed on experimentation. This is when entrepreneurs need to be careful about the amount of time that can be spent on experimentation; they have to ensure to not pull a product too soon or not spend excess time flogging a dead horse.
Success is a fleeting thing. We have to keep that in mind and never slack on innovation.