I interviewed Randy White from White Hutchinson a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of the first wave of the Coronavirus in America. I write “the first wave” because as of this date there is debate among experts about the inevitability of a second wave.  Two days ago Austin, Texas announced they have extended their stay-at-home orders through August after seeing a spike in both new cases and hospitalizations.

We talked about all the statistics he was finding on how people felt about returning to location-based entertainment venues. We discussed how the data showed differences in attitude by region, political affiliation, education and age. It was interesting to see how different people view the same thing so differently.

Randy White and Bob discuss Location-Based Entertainment post COVID19

The interview went for an hour, so we covered a lot.  I highly recommend watching when you get a chance.  It’s up on my YouTube channel and will be released as a 3-part audio podcast soon.

My favorite part of the interview was when Randy dropped this bomb:

“Any LBE that re-opens is opening as a startup in a completely changed world.”

Everything has changed. Consumer mindsets, behaviors, beliefs, expectations, all changed overnight. We have never seen anything like this in my lifetime. And I am getting old.

Normally these things evolve slowly and we have time to change our businesses to continue to meet those needs.

Not this time.

Let me say it again.

Everything has changed! You are a startup.

You need to apply a startup mentality to your business.

According to legendary tech entrepreneur Steve Blank, the key difference between a Startup and a Scaleup is a startup is about searching, and a scaleup is about executing. You spend the formative years searching for what works. This becomes your business model. 

Once you find your sustainable business model, you work on systematizing and replicating.

Which means that if you’re past the startup phase, you have built all of your assumptions about what works in your business into its systems. This is why companies struggle to innovate. They’ve systematized the execution, not the search and discovery.

I’ve created or been part of no less than 7 startups in my career. All of them in the leisure and entertainment business. Most of them successful.  I am not a scaleup guy. I am a startup guy. My systems are all about search and discover.  While they’ve gotten pretty damn good over the last 30-years, I continue to search for and discover new ways of searching and discovering. Because that’s what I have systematized.

Where are you spending most of your time right now? Is it on business model hypotheses, or on operating plans and financial forecasts? If it’s the latter, you need to shift. If your operating plan is based upon the business model from Q1 of this year, you are setting yourself up for failure.

If you need help with changing the culture of your company from scaleup back to startup, I might be able to help. Just reply to this email with the subject Startup and we can jump on a call.