Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Big Is Not a Must

Thousands of tech startups apply, but only ten make it into TechStars—a bootcamp where starting businesses are drilled for success. The 2013 edition kicked off with an entrepreneurial street fight.

The rules were simple.

Participants can only sell one product, bottles of water.
Every business has 15 minutes to decide how large to make its inventory.
All bottles must be sold by 5 o’clock.

And whoever makes the largest profit wins.

Some shot out of the starting blocks and instantly wheeled bottles of water out the room to their first client. Others stood around a whiteboard to discuss strategy.

A classic case of tortoise versus the hair.

And like the fable, the overconfident lost.

The bottom four players each bought 2.000 or more bottles of water and went belly up. Whereas the top three bought less than 500 and made a profit.

The main thing that separated the winners from the losers was one insight:

Bigger is not necessarily better.

Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of prioritising scale. 

But unlike TechStars, few industries are winner-take-all. Often hundreds of companies can compete inside one market and thrive. 

Plus, a bigger company means bigger headaches. You can’t have a larger staff and office without a larger overhead.

So small is more than a stepping stone. It’s a destination.

Most MBA’s forget that due to their education’s obsession with business plans, raising money and disrupting markets.

But how will you disrupt markets if you can’t even sell water without going broke?

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach