How Startups Challenge the Status Quo and Win

Getting past the gatekeeper of the old system

Automobile vs. horse and buggy

Any startup trying to sell a new solution for an old problem is going to have to deal with some resistance. But if fear of change is a hurdle to be jumped, the status quo is a brick wall for you to repeatedly bang your head against.

  • They see the benefits, and they agree, but they aren’t convinced those benefits apply to their unique situation.
  • While the price is right, they have some financial obligations this fiscal year that… (and then it kind of trails off the way that excuse always does). Maybe next year.

So what’s really going on here?

Maybe this is indeed fear of change. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the CEO has faced this. In fact, with rare but joyous exceptions, he basically faces fear of change with every prospective customer. But his company has been successful thus far because they’ve been able to eradicate that fear with facts. Once his prospective customers see their own test results, that fear melts into opportunity.

There’s only one way to sniff out the status quo

Unfortunately, the only way to find out if this is fear of change or love of status quo is to assume it’s fear and bake in all those Do-It-For-Me initiatives that we entrepreneurs know and dread. Just like my mom and her mobile phone, this will eliminate the fear:

  1. Interruption. Send a go team to install, tweak, maintain, train, and walk their people through the first week, so that there are no misconceptions about how easy this is, and no toxicity or potential detractors.
  2. Cost. A three year contract with a 90-day free trial.
  3. Support. A dedicated number and email just for them. This is not hard to do today.
  4. Risk. During the trial period, if anything goes wrong, give them the option of a 24-hour “undo” to get them back to their original operation.

But what if the answer is still no?

If there is still resistance, and that resistance can’t be overcome in negotiation, then what you have here is one or more people who have a huge stake in things staying exactly the way they are.

The status quo power pitch

You’re basically leaning on the customers that you have, the results you’ve achieved, and the story those things foreshadow. This new way of doing things — these automobiles — they’re coming, and probably sooner rather than later.

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Sold ExitEvent. Building & GetSpiffy. Former Automated Insights. More info at

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