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Ensuring your business remains a reality, and doesn’t become a fairytale…

David Taylor, Partner Success Manager, Contact Centre Panel

No, I’m not talking about My Little Pony, I’ve never really fancied myself as a Brony. However, I am referring to businesses that are given the unicorn title due to them achieving a valuation of $1 billion or more.

The term, first coined in 2013, initially was used to emphasize the rarity of such startups. The definition of a unicorn startup has remained unchanged since then. However, the number of unicorns has gone up.

To be a unicorn is no easy feat and each unicorn today has its own story with a list of features that worked in its favour. We have listed down a few factors that are commonly seen across all unicorns:

  • Disruptive innovation
  • The ‘firsts’
  • High on tech

However, there’s a darker truth about becoming a unicorn. Even with a lofty valuation of $1 billion-plus, this does not guarantee success. According to Ali Tamaseb’s research at venture capital firm DCVC, up to 17% of businesses labelled as unicorns within the last 15 years have failed. And we have seen some big unicorns become extinct during that time, including the likes of Evernote, Zynga and one of the most famous being Theranos – with the latter being a little more complicated, I know. This has resulted in the loss of billions of dollars of investors’ money, and unfortunately the livelihoods of many hard-working employees.

There are real lessons here for businesses of every shape and size to learn from, and hopefully, avoid. We’ve listed a few here:

  1. Don’t overpromise – it’s great to have lofty ambitions, but a business can’t be based on something you’re not ready to deliver. Theranos is a great example of this.
  2. Value your workforce – whether a start-up with a handful of employees, or a huge corporation employing thousands, the people on the payroll are the ones who keep the engine moving, and to abuse them only hurts the business.
  3. Be realistic – the temptation to spend like you’re already one of the big players can take you down if you’re not quite at that level yet. Growing realistically and incrementally gives you and your organisation the strong foundation necessary to avoid toppling over as you grow. Patience is a virtue, and a lack of it can bring you to a premature end.

So if you are a unicorn, or any business of any shape or size, and are looking for the right support to enable sustainable growth – then look no further than Contact Centre Panel. We are here and ready to support you with your next contact centre related project.