PRINTED CIRCUIT: How do startups know if it’s time to grow up?


    By Alexander Moiseev

    Part one of two

    LEADING entrepreneurship magazines are filled with stories about how people started their businesses and quickly achieved success — turning their business from a hobby or a quick and dirty idea into an actual small company. From a being a chef to founding a food startup or from working in an office as a software developer to developing their own service, or from a young mother to an owner of an online store, people can dramatically transform their careers.

    Transformation from individual entrepreneurship, which is often a hobby, to a real business, occurs so quickly that sometimes newly successful business leaders do not even have time to realize the gravity of their new status. I noticed this when talking with guys from our Innovation hub — Kaspersky’s dedicated department where we scout internal and external innovative startups. They see themselves as entrepreneurs, but not yet the users of full-fledged business services (for example, messaging, videoconferencing, collaboration cloud services and storage).

    The line between the two states is indeed very thin. However, if new business leaders become aware of their new status, they can make their lives much easier, solving business problems faster and more effectively.

    IKEA for business. Here is a very clear example of how this can be done. Let’s use the story of Wendy and Peter. Peter works as a cook, and in his free time, he experiments with healthy desserts and sells them through his Instagram account. Wendy works as a consultant in a large firm and dreams of exchanging the office routine for something more exciting.

    Once Peter and Wendy know they can rely on each other’s support, why not step into the wonderful unknown world of running their own small business? After thinking it over, they decided that their resources and skills are great for opening a small café with trendy healthy desserts and drinks in a busy city neighborhood. A new business captures their imagination and they feel like pioneers who have to go forward to accomplish their goal.

    The business plan was written, the documents were ready, the menu was drawn up, and the right space had been found. It was time to buy furniture, accessories and utensils to turn their new space into a lovely café, so they visit IKEA. They entered as new apartment owners, striving to fill their store with new products. After having thought through the design and choosing the right products on the retailer’s website, they go around the store for a long time with their trolley, picking up cups, spoons, chairs, plants. They wasted precious hours doing this, and for entrepreneurs who occasionally combine several jobs in one at the start of business, this lost time is extremely valuable.

    The fact is that IKEA has a special service — IKEA Business, which works with companies and simplifies their purchasing tasks. Through this service, as a business owner, you can choose a finished interior or individual products, order delivery and installation, and even do it all on credit. A ritual passage through the IKEA exhibition halls is not necessary; everything can be done online, saving time and effort, which means money for new business. But neither Peter nor Wendy paid attention to this service, but chose a less effective, longer journey. (Author is Kaspersky’s Chief Business Officer)