When does a startup become a grownup?

I love business, innovation and investment and I especially love startups where all these variables meet. I love them for their imperfection, their agility, energy and excitement and particularly their courage to achieve against the odds. A startup can be infectious, attracting raw talent and ideation which established and large enterprise can only dream of. However, I frequently get told that startups are not real businesses – just pipe dreams. I firmly believe that this perception amid naysayers is not directed at the business idea, but more at the immaturity of founders to recognise the needs of the people that will ultimately help make them a success – the investors.

When one of the richest men in the world offers free advice, it is wise to listen.  Of course, acting on it is another thing but investors have been hearing Warren Buffett out for years in his role as chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.  

Warren Buffett stays away from investing in companies that demonstrate any of the ABCs:

A = Arrogance

B = Bureaucracy

C = Complacency

Embracing the notion of storytelling by startups is not as simple as ABC.

My name is Stephen Crowe, and over the last three decades I have witnessed the startup evolution happening around the globe. When I began my tax consulting career at a Big 6 international accounting firm, the client meetings were bursting with enquiries around what the recent introduction of tax measures such as CGT, Foreign Tax Credits, R&D tax incentives and dividend imputation meant. Advice was provided in typed documents and often served accompanied by the inhouse tea/coffee trolley serving the floors.  Today, a graduate beginning a career in tax consulting is faced with understanding the impact of artificial intelligence, machine learning and social media in delivering effective consulting outcomes for clients in cafe style environments.  Few industries and investors have been spared the disruptive impact of technology and innovation.  

I now help startups within the Early Stage Innovation Community to establish themselves for growth and investors to benefit from opportunities. This four-part article series is the first in an ongoing commentary on SmartCompany and StartupSmart called The Hub, seeking to debunk myths surrounding success in the startup world and also to encourage established SMEs to rethink, prepare for disruption and embrace the potential for collaboration with startups as part of their growth strategies.

Read the full article on the SmartCompany Website.