You don’t work as a startup journo for the best part of two years without learning a thing or two about agility.
I spend a decent chunk of every day chatting to startup founders, investors and other over-achievers. And so, when the SmartCompany team was faced with the task of bringing our publication up-to-date, I had a certain amount of wisdom to draw upon (albeit, none of it my own).
Last week, we launched a refreshed and revitalised SmartCompany. You may have noticed the new colour scheme, the new newsletter format, the new and improved lightbulb. You may have also noticed that we’ve said our final goodbyes to StartupSmart as a standalone brand.
StartupSmart was originally created as a sister publication to SmartCompany, as a place dedicated to startup news and analysis. In 2017, the two websites merged, but StartupSmart kept its own brand identity, and its own editorial voice and purpose.
I was hired to write for StartupSmart, and letting go of it was a difficult decision, not only for me but for the whole SmartCompany team. As our consultant publisher Will Hayward says here, we are all immensely proud of our little corner of the internet, laser focused on the Australian startup scene. We were, and we remain, dedicated to the readers it served.
But, data talks. We found a lot of our small business news applied to startups too, whether they like it or not. Equally, more and more we saw our small business readers taking an interest in the successes of Aussie startups.
Many of our readers were having to visit two websites, follow two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts, and two LinkedIn accounts, just to get the full scope of the information they wanted.
That wasn’t practical for them, and honestly it wasn’t practical for us either.
We know there’s a propensity for people (ahem, government) to lump small businesses and startups into one category. We also know that’s not right, and that’s not what we’re doing.
Small businesses and startups are two very different animals, with very different needs. But there are similarities too.
Since it was founded in 2007, long before my time here, SmartCompany has been about championing business and telling stories about growth.
That’s something we believe all entrepreneurs can relate too. It’s something that connects all of our readers, whether they’re running a milk bar or a ride-sharing company.
When we’re telling you about new legislation, it’s through the lens of whether it will help or hinder growth. When we offer advice, it’s ultimately to help you run your business, so you can grow.
When we profile successful entrepreneurs — whether we’re talking about revenue, user base, geography or even just awareness — it’s about growth.
It’s a different kind of growth, but the mindset is the same.
And we’re growing too.
Like I said, I speak to entrepreneurs every day. One thing I hear time and time again is the benefit of a pivot; the value of ditching something that’s not quite right anymore; and the potentially dire consequences of clinging to something because of an emotional attachment, not because it makes sense. You can’t be afraid of change.
I will still be covering the same startup news, and a freeing up of resources means you will be hearing even more from me. My ‘beat’ is also expanding to more formally include technology news and trends.
This pivot isn’t about us reporting less on startups, or on the news that’s important to startups. It’s about acknowledging that startups are now firmly a part of the Aussie business landscape — not something niche and on the fringes of the conversation.
Sure, our site needed a refresh. Our branding needed to evolve to match our content. But bringing SmartCompany into 2020 meant bringing startups into SmartCompany — into the mainstream of business news, where they belong.