A Startup is [1] a new business [2] selling a single service or product [3] with the ability to scale rapidly.
— Brandon T. Luong

A popular misconception of startups is that to be considered one, it must be tech related. It’s easier to describe the criteria of a startup by associating it to technology as it has received the most glamour from the media in recent years. According to Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, “ A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success if not guaranteed.”

The problem with this statement is that a) solving a problem can be ambiguous as the product may not a solution but rather an alternative to lessen the problem, and b) sounds like poor market research and validation if success is not guaranteed. I would also include poor leadership and timing to that last part. I see it more like:

A Startup is [1] a new business [2] selling a single service or product [3] with the ability to scale rapidly.

1. A new business. 

This means it is new and in its early stages. Can you be considered a startup if you have been around for 9 years? It’s similar when people say their baby is 42 months old; it’s a toddler now.

2. Selling a single service or product.

 One common characteristics of a startup is they sell one type of service or product to their customer. It’s not a startup if they are offering multiple services to a client.

3. Ability to scale rapidly. 

One of the most crucial part as a startup should have the ability to scale its product from 26 customers to 20,601 in a short period. Something like this is difficult to achieve if it relies on very limited and specific resources.

Additionally:

Any company can embrace the startup culture and mentality as it sees fits, but remember it doesn't mean you're a startup. Samsung, Apple, Pwc, Booz Allen & Hamilton and other Fortune 500 and agencies all promote innovation and startup culture, yet they don’t claim to be a startup themselves.

A startup does not have to be techie nor embrace all lean startup methodology. Take the Minimum Lovable Product approach for example. This isn’t a video game; you have unlimited customization to choose from.

Examples of a startup include:

  • Food product
  • Gardening tool
  • Media business
  • Flower delivery
  • Some of those stupid things on QVC and Shark Tank

Do you agree or disagree w/ Brandon's definition of a startup? Tweet your thoughts to @genYize @BrandonTLuong. 


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AuthorBrandon T. Luong