Unicorn companies, the rare startups valued at over $1 billion, have captivated the business world with their rapid rise and disruptive innovations. Names like Uber, Slack, and Facebook have become synonymous with success and transformation. While these companies may seem like mythical creatures, there are valuable lessons that all business leaders can learn from them. Here are three truths that can guide businesses toward success based on the practices of unicorn companies.
- Unicorns Make Their Offering and Their Brand Synonymous
Unicorn companies understand that their offering and brand identity are not separate entities but intertwined. Rather than creating products or services and searching for markets later, these startups start with the end user in mind. By developing offerings that future customers find irresistible, unicorns create brand enthusiasts. This goes beyond clever marketing; they prioritize accessibility and convenience, leveraging online platforms to meet customer needs.
For example, the rise of food delivery services through mobile apps has transformed the dining experience. Companies like Uber Eats provide customers with the restaurant experience they desire at home, delivering their favorite comfort foods and introducing new culinary experiences. The technology behind these apps serves as the product, service vehicle, and brand, merging online marketing with accessibility.
- Unicorns Are Mission-Driven
Unicorn companies operate with a clearly defined mission, which sets them apart from regular businesses. Companies like Tesla and InstaCart excel at communicating their purpose to the world. Their missions resonate with customers on a deeper level, aligning with their values and aspirations. This mission can be centered around solving a problem that the target audience deeply cares about, whether it’s addressing climate change or eliminating daily errands.
Leaders of unicorn companies ensure that the mission becomes the center of their operations. It is not just a slogan on their website or in their advertisements; it permeates every aspect of the business, including product or service design. By incorporating the mission into their decision-making process, these companies communicate a relatable story and establish scalable objectives. Customers know what the company does, why it exists, and where it is headed.
- Unicorns Expect the Unexpected
Unicorn companies understand the importance of anticipating and adapting to change. They constantly monitor market conditions and remain open to signals indicating potential shifts. Whether these changes are temporary or long-lasting, unicorn companies demonstrate adaptability. They are not afraid to rethink corporate strategy on the fly, even in the face of significant challenges.
For instance, Airbnb had to table ambitious expansion plans during the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to the changing travel landscape. Unicorn companies have teams dedicated to analyzing trends, consumer behavior, and social and economic developments to gauge their potential impact on the business. They embrace novel ideas and prioritize experimentation, fostering a culture of flexibility and agility.
Lessons from the Unicorns
While experience is often considered the best teacher, learning from the experiences of successful unicorn companies can provide valuable insights. Even if you are leading an organization that has already gone public, borrowing a few tricks from the unicorn playbook can propel your business to new heights. Instead of solely focusing on selling products or services, these lessons emphasize building everything around why customers choose your business.
By making the offering and brand synonymous, being mission-driven, and expecting the unexpected, businesses can adopt the strategies that have propelled unicorn companies to success. Embracing these truths and implementing them into your own organization can lead to transformative growth and a competitive edge in the market. So, learn from the unicorns and dare to think differently, aligning your business with the values and needs of your customers.
By: Mr. I.K Bin Waqqid