What Is The Cost of Status Quo?

image The cost of same is an idea that every member of the Startup Institute community can understand. Basically, it’s human nature to focus on the costs of change or disruption. Those costs are real. But what people tend to overlook are the equally real costs of staying on the path you’re already on. At Vsnap, the company I work for, this is what we call the cost of same.

The Startup Institute community can relate to this because we all had to encounter this idea when we decided to attend. It was hard to leave the path we were on. There were costs. The tuition, for example. Or the lost income from our current salary. Or the risk — what if I can’t find a job that lives up to my vision?

But those costs are only half of the picture. The other half comes from the costs of not embracing change. For me, if I had stayed where I was, the costs of same would have included:

  • Lost earning potential
  • Fewer future career opportunities
  • Not having the opportunity to be part of a rich startup ecosystem
  • A lack of professional guidance and mentorship
  • And more…

SI alumni can see the cost of same concept in the business patterns of the disruptive startups where we work. For most of us, our companies are encouraging clients to make some deep change. And we hear from those clients about the costs. But we need to help those clients recognize the costs of their existing solutions. Because it’s human nature to overlook the costs we’re already paying.

For example, at Vsnap, many of our customers are sales organizations. There’s a pattern we see over and over, which is that most salespeople focus exclusively on the top clients that yield 80% of revenue. The remaining 20% of revenue comes from a larger subset of accounts, which most of the time goes largely untouched, resulting in thousands, if not millions, of revenue being put at risk.

In this case the cost of same is that 20% of revenue. I mean, think about that! A fifth of your revenue. That’s what we point out to our prospective clients. The cost of same is up to a fifth of your revenue. That really changes the context for looking at the costs of implementing this disruptive technology.

The point is this: the cost of status quo is not free. When you really take stock of the cost of same — the costs associated with making no change in whatever you’re doing — then the costs of disruption look very different and generally much less daunting. And that helps us all embrace innovation and capture new benefits!

Ultimately, disruption is about affecting change to help companies and people grow. And stagnation is rarely conducive to progress. Disruption is never free, it always costs something — but so does holding on to the status quo. So whether you’re looking to accelerate your career or grow your company, don’t just consider how much disruption will cost you, look at how much you’re already giving up.


Guillaume graduated from Startup Institute Boston last winter. He now works for Vsnap as their Director of Marketing, helping businesses communicate with customers in a more human way.