What is a startup?

Hello everyone!

There are lot of opinions and different definitions about "What is a startup", so I think it would be interesting to begin listing important characteristics of startups. Please find them below and feel free to comment with your opinion and with what you think is missing:

- Innovative business model: new relationship formats with final customers, funding and supplying sources; Google's search tool is a good example of an innovative business model: it offers an amazing free service to final customers and charge the advertisers.

- Adaptable business model: MVPs and prototypes are evaluation tools; startups should always be measuring and testing. If something is not working, a fast and consistent decision should be taken;

- Business totally focused on the user/consumer needs: businesses designed to solve real needs;

- Constant search for innovation: constant search for local and global references for adaptation and modernization of the product or service. Entrepreneurs are always looking for more efficient ways to do the same thing (and to solve old and new real needs);

- Global references: the language and geographical location are no longer an obstacle: through internet and multiple connectivity tools the startup is open to receive content, influence, opportunities and partnerships from customers, suppliers, collaborators and international partners. International expansion, despite the small size of the majority of startups that have just begun, becomes something foreseeable and desirable;

- Continuous use of technology in the development of the product or service: the startup may not be a "high-tech" one, but technology is very present on its daily life;

- Reduced spending in the beginning and until the business model is "tested and approved" and ready to expand;

- Creation of a "lean" business with a small and multidisciplinary team: startups avoid spending money with processes and complex hierarchies (at least in the beginning, when they are not global companies yet). They look for constant modernization on the internal processes and on the relationship with customer/user. 

- Constant use of online resources and social networks to build the brand and its reputation: online marketing and advertising are frequently used.

- Reduction of hierarchies and excessive internal fragmentation in sectors and departments: the professionals involved in a startup usually are very multifunctional, working in more than one area at the same time. The traditional vision that someone that is graduated in the X area should work in the X area is often abandoned in exchange for a more skill-based organization.

- Motivation and goal oriented team: teams are normally smaller (than in big companies) and are composed by very motivated, innovative and multifunctional individuals. The traditional vision of "I am here to earn my monthly money" is exchanged for "I am here to help to create amazing products/services".

What do you think of the list above? What characteristics would you add? Please use the comments below.

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Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate lawyer specialized in startups
what is a startup