Unicorns. Private companies with a valuation of $1billion or greater.
They’re a rare sight in the business world and there’s currently only 237 in existence; largely spread across both the USA and China. These high growth startups are often considered are being typically only those in the tech space and, whilst that is, in many ways, accurate, there’s far more to growing a unicorn than simply being able to be categorised as a tech business!
Unicorns Are Bred In Just 7 Years…
Research released this week by Compare the Market has revealed that, on average, it takes just 7 years from incorporation to reach a ten figure valuation.
That’s just 7 years to bring a product or service to market, gain traction within the marketplace and scale at a considerable pace. It becomes even more impressive when you consider the number of businesses who struggle to make any level of success in their first five years of existence, let alone build such a strong valuation around themselves.
7 years is something which, as entrepreneurs, we can all admire and respect. But what is even more amazing is those who grew to such a strong valuation in even less time; less than one year!
That’s right, according to the research, 15 of the 237 unicorns in the world achieved this. Taking themselves from nothing to $1billion in 12 months or less. To most of us, that’s unthinkable; so much hard work, dedication and hustling to do something which most wont ever do.
It has to be respected, however.
But what exactly sets these high growth brands up for success?
Typically; they stand out like a sore thumb from competitors. Take Xiaomi for example. The consumer electronics brand probably isn’t the first you’d think of as being one of the world’s fastest growing unicorns, however that’s what makes their story even more special.
This Chinese brand took the decision to forego big budget advertising and marketing campaigns in light of producing great products at a great price. By focussing upon offering value for money, they quickly stood out from the crowd and got people talking. High quality products at a great price? A winner!
These high growth unicorns all have something in common in that they took the risk to do something a little different to tradition. Uber? They became the world’s largest taxi company without owning vehicles. Airbnb? The world’s largest accommodation provider; without owning any real estate.
There’s a reason why the world’s 237 unicorns became what they are today but there’s lessons every startup can learn from them and use on a smaller scale.
- It’s important that you seize opportunities as soon as they arise in the business world. By understanding that, on average, unicorns are formed in just 7 years, we can clearly see that they’re grabbing any opportunity which becomes available to them, taking risks and acting upon their best instincts. They’re not afraid to take calculated risks to growth hack.
- You need to have a solid USP. The world’s unicorns didn’t get where they are today by mimicking their competitors. They did so by taking, often proven, concepts and offering solutions to problems which already existed. Uber didn’t just launch a taxi service; they launched an innovative app-based solution to disrupt a stagnant market. Airbnb opened up accommodation around the world and formed a platform to connect users.
- You need to get people talking. The power of viral growth can propel a business forward very quickly, however every business needs to understand that, in order for this to happen, there needs to be something worth talking about; whether that’s (on a smaller scale) great customer service, an innovative product or great value for money.
Unicorns are a rare breed but there’s lessons every founder can learn from them…