There was an editorial in the New York Time last week by Thomas L. Friedman, celebrated author of The World is Flat and many other fine books. His editorial was titled “Pass The Books. Hold The Oil“. It is a great piece on how a lack of resources has led to the creation of some of the strongest nations in the world. Specifically, he talks about the country of Taiwan. He calls Taiwan his favorite country after the US because of what the country has accomplished with very few natural resource. In a nutshell he explains that the lack or natural resources forces everyone there to focus on learning.
Startup companies can apply the same lessons of this work to their efforts. In many cases startups are competing against companies with amazing resources. Having worked at a company that, over time, amassed significant resources, I can tell you these resources make big companies lazy and risk adverse. By constantly focusing on learning and improving, the startup will many times outrun the large.
Just remember, when your startup become the large resource rich company, you carry the same risk!