A spider and its web

A Reflection On Entrepreneurship

Can anyone conceive the notion of deriving inspiration and lessons on management strategy from a Spider and Its Web? Each one of us must have come across this insect many times. But it takes a keen observer to understand and collate the strategic implications that a Spider and its Web present. This Arachnid species has a lot to teach, especially to our entrepreneur community.

One would wonder what a fragile Spider and Its Web could teach us in terms of strategy. This will be clear if you think like an entrepreneur. The vulnerability of a Spider and Its Web stands out first. No doubt. With a brisk of a duster, a web can be destroyed. But the passionate spider [entrepreneur] survives. Almost immediately is back to work spinning yet another web. In this article let me try and present what important management and strategy lessons can we get from a Spider and Its Web.

An entrepreneur should be like a spider. A web built with the ‘hold-ups’ [or objects used for support] around is like an entrepreneur’s startup, built around a niche target market for supporting its business. A clever spider would build its web at a place where the possibility of prospective preys getting into the spider’s web is high. A smart and informed entrepreneur’s business would select a target market segment where the possibility of converting prospects into customers is high. Another strategic decision that an entrepreneur should make is to build its web around the place where the ‘hold-ups’ around are permanent [long-term] in nature. If the ‘hold-ups’ around for the web are not permanent [long-term] in nature, then the life of the web, and hence the existence of a startup, is very limited. This is analogous to saying that if a startup’s business model is not based on proper research and analysis, then the startup’s survival will always be at risk. An entrepreneur’s startup must be based on robust business idea, which is possible only with in-depth market analysis and detailed idea validation.

Another key observation and lesson to understand from a Spider and Its Web are to strategically select the supports or the ‘hold-ups’ for business expansion. The ‘spider’ entrepreneur should start at the ‘core’ or the center, which has a small radius to function. The ‘spider’ entrepreneur should gradually make a stronghold by carefully connecting in the vector space [expanding] to other ‘hold-ups’ [market segments], further around in its ecosystem. These vectors [which can be compared to services or products or various market segments] must also have connectors to provide better elasticity. These ‘connectors’ are the processes and process controls, which enable the smooth functioning of the entire structure of the organization, as it expands.

What the above analogy explains is that a spider’s web is like a startup focusing on a well-defined niche market and then gradually expanding into other markets and/or offering more services and products. It is equally important for a startup to establish and implement the accountability structure and other process controls parallelly as the startup grows in business and structure. This implies that a ‘spider’ entrepreneur needs to be adept in planning and execution to achieve its business goals. It also implies the vulnerable nature of a startup and hence the need for a ‘spider’ entrepreneur to be dedicated and passionate about his/her work. This analogy also highlights the need to be resilient. A ‘spider’ entrepreneur should have a resilient business model in order to traverse the uncharted territory of entrepreneurship that he/she has chosen.

Once the web is built on careful research and process controls, a spider usually will have a self-sustaining structure enabled to generate food [revenue], leaving enough room for innovation for sustaining and thriving in time and space, which is nothing but the dynamics of the market in present and in future.

Mridula VelagapudiAbout Mridula: Mridula is a freelance writer. She writes on Entrepreneurship and has worked for a start-up in the past. To know more check out her profile at LinkedIn/Mridula Velagapudi

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