Airbnb, Uber and Others Used ‘Time Collapsing’ to Skyrocket from Zero to Millions

Fast growth companies use the process of speeding up success by incorporating digital tools and breakthrough innovation into the core of their business.

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BY Bill Carmody - 18 Aug 2016

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

In 2007, Airbnb appeared on the scene and completely changed the world of travel and hospitality. But unbeknownst to the three 30-something year old founders, they forged a new path for startups.

Uber, Spanx and NetJets, have also demonstrated a blazing trail from zero to millions nearly from inception. These standouts have rewritten the rules of building business, proving start-ups innovative ways to play on the same field as their much larger competitors. So how did they do it?

According to business and marketing experts like Ed O'Keefe, modern longevity has everything to do with eliminating risks. When time-worn manuals advising of slow-and-steady winning the business race were tossed out by innovators, a unique phenomenon was enabled, challenging much of we know about the formula for success.

O'Keefe, the founder of EOK Marketing who has just written a book about a theory he calls "time Collapsing," says that leaders who practice his theory - which can be summarized up as the process of speeding up success - incorporate digital tools and innovation into their business' essence. "It isn't just one thing that leads to ignition," he says of his theory. "Multiple methods have been adjusted and optimized to permit more instantaneous gratification."

O'Keefe outlines other practices used by upstarts at companies like Airbnb and Uber to accelerate success:

1. Leapfrog over older organizations

This is the action taken when someone skips several stairs -- typically paving the way to success. Instead of implementing a plan to increase metrics by X amount month-over-month, modern marketing means money can be made faster, and companies can cement their footing sooner.

Older establishments are finding younger companies competing neck-and-neck, because the steps 21st century startups must take to reach their pinnacles are fewer and take less time to institute.

2. Consider a contrarian view to speed up emotional attachment

In the case of Spanx, Sara Blakely inventoried the plagues of the undergarment industry. Instead of noting the wins of longer-lasting brands and consumer devotion, Blakely took everything she didn't know and based her standards on non-information.

For decades, intimate apparel manufacturer's had adhered to few absolutes. They'd used the same material since forever -- even if it was scratchy, awkward and ill-fitting. They'd ensured their designs fit a mannequin. But Blakely broke that two-step mold when she created something she loved that was comfortable to wear, in a material she adored. And finally, she tested her prototype on humans.

In a world where no updated and intuitive patterns existed, Blakely devised her own. When consumers got wind of her impressive unmentionables, sales skyrocketed. Blakely collapsed time by engineering new guidelines for research and development, and instead of waiting the prerequisite period for consumers to learn to be loyal, she sped up their emotional attachment.

3. Unique inventory and inventive services will scoop up customers

Airbnb used the collateral of participating members' houses. Uber snapped up their drivers' cars and in doing so, both elementary-age firms displayed marketing prowess. Their potential wasn't contained due to a lack of funds needed to acquire product. Instead, they expanded their resources by using abstract solutions to leap everyday hurdles.

4. No permission or approval is needed to climb as high as you want

No one need grant you the right to pass, to take their place -- or to topple them. You are clear to climb as high as you want, and you are provided a level playing terrain through the existence of free enterprise.

Simplify and cut shipping, eliminate overhead, identify your dream client -- and then replicate the steps to actualize early success.

5. Put your company on the map thorough the law of opposites

Dollar Shave Club, which was recently purchased by Unilever for $1 Billion, tackled the micro-industry by refusing to follow the same old dusty plan. When high-quality affordable generic razors became obtainable at reasonable rates through subscription, consumers beat in the door. By positioning their price incapable of sinking much lower than a buck, demand went up. So did profits.

6. Small and flexible is the new powerful

Your company must be nimble and allow you to control your presence, costs and inventory. Multimillion- and billion-dollar corporations have discovered owning massive footprints limits prosperity. But the new entrepreneur doesn't need to lease a monstrous space. The staff should be remote, the product ordered and moved on demand and the SMM analytics liberated from third-party consultants. The business should operate location-free.

7. If you use the right technology and tools, you're looking at a zero-barrier entry into the marketplace

The same tools available to businesses of any size are now accessible to entrepreneurs. Anyone can develop a relationship with a delivery company, pop up a website in minutes offering packages for immediate purchase and send automated emails.

You also have access to breakthrough marketing and innovation at your fingertips. My agency, Trepoint, for example leverages the power of influencer marketing to deliver 11X higher ROI for companies of all sizes. Outsourcing your lead generation and marketing support needs is yet another way to realize squeezing time.

In this modern marketplace with a zero-barrier entry, nothing is stopping you from going head-to-head with the established leaders in any industry - just like the creative founders of zero-to-millions companies like Airbnb and Uber did years ago.

How can you apply these insights? What aspects of your business can you immediately time collapse and reap the rewards?

One of the best pieces of advice I received was to do what I do best and outsource the rest. Time collapsing is another powerful way to accomplish this objective.