“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” –Archimedes
Any company trying to achieve massive scale needs to find their “lever.” Think about it as your unfair advantage, or something that only your company can wield to its advantage. Your job is to identify the leverage, protect that leverage as much as possible (e.g., patents, trade secrets, etc.), then exploit it to achieve explosive growth. Without some kind of leverage in your business, stealing customers from competitors will be a long and painful road — Not impossible, but much more difficult than with leverage. In contrast, with leverage, stealing customers will dramatically streamline your marketing and sales efforts.
There are many kinds of leverage that you can exploit in the world of startups. Most of the time, the leverage will come from a significant technical advancement. By definition, a cutting edge technology-based startup will have some kind of leverage against versus competition. For example, leverage might come from developing a technology that allows you to profitably price your products where competitors will lose money. Any technology that’s significantly better/faster/cheaper gives you leverage. Another way leverage can come into the picture is through your business model. Any aspect of your business model, from distribution to revenue model can reveal significant points of leverage.
All go-to-market efforts — from marketing to mapping your business model — should exploit your leverage to the fullest.