Founders of startups can benefit from following some essential business management tips to help them through the early stages of growth.
Though relatively fast growth is necessary for success, startups are especially vulnerable to setbacks since they are often in a precarious position financially. So when owners move too fast to scale but lack strategy to manage their business as they grow, there’s a higher chance of mistakes.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for startup business management.
To learn more about startup business management, contact us for a consultation.
Automation is Your Friend
Today it’s easier than ever to take advantage of free or inexpensive tools to ensure that certain elements of your business are handled automatically.
Some examples of areas that are relatively simple to automate from the outset include:
- Social media planning tools like Hootsuite
- Project management tools like Basecamp
- Email marketing software like HubSpot
- Chatbots to help with customer inquiries
The best thing to do is figure out as early as possible what exactly can be automated, then base your hiring around that. But bear in mind that not all tools are made the same. Make sure all of the founders or core team have a solid grasp of all of your software before you start to hire and train.
You may need people to help you manage your information in the context of the tools, but so long as your team is trained well on the tools, you can essentially move those tasks off your plate fairly quickly and smoothly as you scale.
Stay On Top of Customer Service
If you’re in a B2C business that relies heavily on customer engagement, your founding team should frame business management around profit-building activities.
While it’s wise to hire out the more menial tasks first and keep the founders working in key management roles, do not neglect the power of top-notch customer service, especially in light of such huge competition.
Something as simple as a follow-up survey, immediate responses to customer questions (including on social media), or getting to know the names of your regular customers is essential to building trust and loyalty. Even if they’re not legitimate, a few bad online reviews could set your business into a downward spiral.
Take the Right Risks
Good business management always hinges around some risk, and startup ventures are among the riskiest types of businesses to build and scale. But some risks are more worthy than others.
When it comes to creativity and innovation, these are certainly areas you want to take risks at the outset of a business, so long as they are balanced with financial and budgetary needs. On the flip side, you don’t want to take risks in legal matters.
Consider hiring a risk management team or consultant to help you understand what risks are most pertinent to your specific business which ones you can and can’t afford to take.
Don’t Hire in Desperation
When founders are in the first stages of their startup, they’ll undoubtedly feel like they’re running 24/7 to stay on top of everything through fast growth. If this is the case, they may be tempted to hire people cheaply and quickly.
A better business management choice would be to be strategic about hiring. Even if they’re not handling high-level tasks, any new team member should have well-developed, specified skillsets, including “soft” skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, and demonstrating a commitment to business growth. It’s not a good idea to hire “on the fly” or hire inexperienced people willing to work for minimum wage.
Instead, take advantage of simple tools like LinkedIn to help you sift through qualified applicants and reach out to people who you think will be a great fit as you go. That way, you can develop a roster of qualified individuals to engage with over time.
For more information about how to hire and delegate in your startup, take a look at part one of this article which covers startup organizational structure. You may also want to consider investing in a part-time HR consultant to help you find great candidates while you focus on your business.
Focus Business Management Strategies Around What Works
It may sound obvious, but keeping tabs on what aspect of management works and what doesn’t is key to sound growth. It takes some time and attention to monitor and evaluate the progress of various activities. But keeping identifying some key KPIs and financials from the outset then checking regularly to meet your goals can work well in the long term. On the other hand, managers should understand when they need to stop doing a certain activity and be able to do so quickly.
A business consultant can help you stay on top of your core business activities and do regular evaluations.
Listen to Your Team and Customers
Communication is a two-way street. When heading full throttle into a new business and trying to scale quickly, it can be easy to lose sight of your most important assets: your team members. Never underestimate the importance of listening to new ideas from everyone on your team. A founder’s agreement can help set a structure for regular meetings and other activities that ensure everyone gets the chance to speak and listen. And automated follow-up surveys are a simple example of something you can do to keep listening to customers or clients.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
The first few years of your startup are a crucial time, and many SMEs fail in the first few years. Asking for help from qualified people can make a difference in business management. Even if you feel you have plenty of experience under your belt, the (business) world is constantly changing, and getting outside advice and support can be invaluable.
Excellent business management at the start can pave the path for success. To get started on your startup business plan or to get help with a new startup, call 303-780-7333 or schedule an appointment for a free consultation.