A startup isn’t all about bin bags and free foods only. Under all of those cool and hip, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work to survive and thrive.
But after all those late nights, stress and coffees, when things finally look promising, you get slapped by new sets of challenges. When the number of orders goes up exponentially, you might have to learn how to sprint before you can even walk. In order to match that growth, you need to pay close attention to things like keeping operational efficiency high, maintaining customer satisfaction and so on. Any mistake here can make the difference between a thriving business and a closed one.
In this article, we will be talking about four simple ways to meet those challenges head-on.
Share your vision and empower
Have you ever seen the movie “Office Space”? Have you noticed how characters hated their job and plotted to take revenge?
That’s exactly what happens when businesses treat their employees like “Do exactly as you have been told. Don’t ask any question.”
In the earliest days of a startup, the strength of a CEO is to be able to wear many hats. But when you start expanding the team, your focus should shift to sharing your company’s mission and empowering team members. This has two major benefits:
- Your team members can adapt according to changes without any supervision.
- Decision makers can focus on the larger picture without spending time micromanaging everything.
Take the example of Facebook. Company leaders did an excellent job of ingraining the mantra “move fast, break things” into the very fabric of company culture. Creating speed and questioning everything is encouraged from the very moment you start working there.
Scale while keeping revenue in mind
When you are scaling up to match your growth, you should keep an eye on revenue generated to keep the burn rate low.
In order to understand how you are going to spend, you require some financial and operational forecasts.
Depending on your business and operation, you can come up with different metrics, which will provide you with the complete picture. For instance, you should look at the cost per lead for different marketing channels before spending on the next marketing campaign.
Also, think about the metrics that will give you good look at how well you are utilizing the full potential of your team members—do you need another hire or new tools are enough?
Long story short, you want to be in a position where you can tell how efficient you are at running the business while getting bigger.
A lot of businesses leave a lot of money on the table because they do things inefficiently. Instead of utilizing better methods, they stick to traditional ways, which are not even suited for a rapidly growing startup in the first place.
Business automation is the answer here.
By automating business processes, you can streamline communication, reduce cost by cutting down manual errors, and most importantly, keep yourself prepared for any unpleasant “surprises.”
Business automation tools reduce the complexity of any operation and let you focus on other important areas. Take the example of the HR process, which when done manually, the pain involved can be felt, as it involves a lot of paperwork and your HR team spends their productive hours updating spreadsheets. If you could invest in an HR management software, your HR team can organize, look over employee performance and create reports with just a few clicks. That is two to three productive hours saved every day.
You can do the same with your sales, inventory management or any other business process. With that said, there is one caveat here. Go for automation only if your metrics support it. Automation is great for smooth business scaling, but there is no point in buying any expensive collaboration tool if you have seven to eight people on your team at the moment.
Increase team productivity
A highly productive and competent team is probably your biggest asset.
Since most startups have limited resources, high productivity can really accelerate company growth and revenue.
Automation and empowering employees are basically two massive step toward high productivity, but there are a few more which are unconventional yet effective.
First, cut down meetings. According to research, 50 percent of meetings are pointless and your team loses 37 hours of productive time per month. If you switch to collaboration tools instead, you can add up 37 productive hours per team members every month.
Going for remote employees can also boost productivity. Why? Because a Harvard Business Review study shows when employees work from their home (which is distraction free) their productivity goes up. Moreover, you can save up to $1,900 in nine months per employee.
Apart from these, sometimes mundane habits can also slowly burn your effective work hours. For example, some CEOs prefer to interact with banks directly, instead of using mobile banking apps. Sounds trivial, of course, but if your team use apps, you could save hours in the long run.
You should identify such daily practices and find alternative ways to save precious working hours.
Dealing with a fast-growing startup is hard but manageable. Empower people, automate processes, hire right people and boost productivity so that you can sustain that growth.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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