Groupon, pioneer of group buying and one the fastest growing companies in history, will have its launch on the stock markets today with an initial public offering (IPO) that’s values the business at thirteen billion dollars, more double the $6bn that Google offered for the three year old company last year.
A recent Business Insider profile of Groupon had some fascinating insights on this unique company and its growth, there’s a number of lessons that most business owners, entrepreneurs and managers can take from this company’s dramatic growth and market leadership regardless of the sector they operate in.
Apply tech to your business
Many people make the mistake that Groupon is tech startup when it’s actually a sales operation.
Groupon’s business model isn’t really new, what they have done is applied various web technologies to the directory and voucher shopping industries and come up with a 21st Century way of doing things.
Bringing together different modern tools like social media, cloud computing, local search and the mobile web makes businesses more flexible and quick to develop new market opportunities.
Prepare for quick changes
Groupon was born out of another business – The Point. As The Point steadily died, Andrew Mason and his mentor Eric Lefkofsky decided to try something different and Groupon was born.
This ability to change focus quickly – often called “pivoting” – is essential in changing markets. In volatile times like today where today’s business conditions can’t be taken for granted we have to be prepared for rapid changes.
Fortunately the cost and time to changes your business focus has dropped dramatically with digital and online tools, which is another reason to embrace tech.
Get a good business mentor
Eric Lefkofsky bought maturity and a perspective to Groupon’s young leadership, having a different and more experienced view of the business helped it develop and grab the opportunity. An experienced business mentor can be worth their weight in gold.
Back a good idea
In Nicholas Carson’s Business Insider profile he describes Andrew Mason role at Eric Lefkofski’s business before The Point as “an intern, ‘kind of squatting in their offices'”. Lefkofski was prepared to back the geeky kid camping on his premises.
Putting your prejudices and judgements on the shelf to back good ideas, particularly those that don’t cost much to execute, is one way to find where the opportunities lie.
Tell your business story
Regardless of what you think of Groupon’s claims, they tell a very good story which has lead to their amazing growth and the development of the group buying industry. Being able to tell your story, in your terms, is one of the great advantages the web, local search and social media deliver.
There’s no reason why your business shouldn’t be dominating the local market in whatever field you work in. Regardless of what your business does, it can benefit from applying the online tools that are available to all of us.
Our businesses may not be the next Groupon but the web gives us the opportunity to build our business to take advantage of the 21st Century. It’s worthwhile understanding the new tools at our fingertips.