Why Your Next Startup Should Target the Enterprise

While the enterprise can be boring as hell, the whole thing is paved with gold.Alex Williams, TechCrunch Writer

Enterprises can’t innovate like startups and that’s a major opportunity for entrepreneurs.

They may have the budget to fund large innovation projects, but they don’t see the industry the way hungry startup founders do; they lack the agility to react quickly to new and emerging market opportunities.

Enterprises are aware of that. That’s why an increasing number of startups are being acquired for talent more than technology (acquihires), APIs are built to fuel outside innovation and Lean Startup principles are being adopted by companies as large as General Electrics or the US Government.

At a time when enterprise software spending is growing at over six percent year over year, this is a golden opportunity for B2B entrepreneurs.

In most large organizations, you can find finance, Human Resources, Sales, Marketing, IT and Operations departments that are served by large technology platforms (SAP, PeopleSoft, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.). These platforms may or may not completely fulfill the business needs. Every large enterprise solution has blindsides.

A startup’s goal is to fill an unmet need in the market, and many do this by filling gaps that exists in the product suites of big companies… Startups can innovate faster and seize opportunities faster, exploiting small gaps or niches. Startups also get acquired faster when they fill a gap like this. All big platform vendors have gaps; how do you fill those gaps with your startup?Jeff Ernst, Forrester Research VP of Marketing

The enterprises you’ll interact with will most likely have purchased large multi-million dollar solutions (the infamous legacy products) that can do everything well but nothing perfectly. Those companies have made substantial financial commitments and, satisfied or not, they’re locked-in with long-term contracts.

But, in every large enterprise, you will find disgruntled end users looking for a competitive edge over competitors (internal or external).

There are plenty of opportunities at the edge of these large platform plates for startups to exploit. Your multi-million opportunities might not even be large enough to register on SAP or Microsoft’s radar.

Entrepreneurs willing to dig deep into the value chain and the needs of the enterprise will find opportunities for breakout products. They just need the patience and dedication to find their opportunity to enter the market.

Here’s how to get started and find the opportunities in the enterprise.

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