Ahh, it seems like only yesterday that your precious startup was born and, you watched proudly as it took its first steps out into the world. Long days (and often nights) of bloody hard work are offset by flexible working hours, casual dress and endless pizza deliveries to the office.
Since that time, your business has grown but, your business practices may not have followed suit. Although an informal approach is fine when you’re just starting out, once your company begins to grow, it does require a certain amount of structure and guidance to keep it on the right track—that’s what I learnt at Ultimate Banners.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to channel your inner Miranda Priestly—only that you need to introduce processes and rules to avoid a descent into chaos. The following guide will help you to guide your businesses through the terrible twos, all the way into the teenage years:
It’s Good to Talk
Before you begin to add structure to your business, it’s a good idea to communicate your plans to your employees. If, so far, you’ve been free and loose in terms of what is required of your staff, you may find yourself facing some resistance when putting new practices in place.
Getting employees involved at this stage is a great way to avoid slow, simmering resentment.
The People Plan
We know that it’s your business and, that you want to be ‘the cool boss’ but, it’s time to stop with the cavalier attitude toward your employees. You’re paying your staff to put in an agreed amount of time or complete a project and, it’s down to you to make sure that this is done.
It’s fine to introduce flexible time and, even working from home as long as you clearly lay out your expectations.
For the Record
As your business starts to evolve, that shared spreadsheet you’ve got going on is no longer going to cut it. Increased business means an increased need to keep proper, grown up, detailed records of all transactions so that you have the information on hand when you need it.
The Price is Right
There’s a good chance that, right now, you’re under-charging. When starting out, you didn’t have the reputation or client base that you do now and so, you most likely kept your prices rock bottom. Now’s the time to adjust your pricing plans for new clients—this will enable you to continue to make a profit without running yourself ragged.
You’ve Gotta Have Goals
OK, admit it—until now, you’ve mostly been winging it. We hear ya; you’ve been so busy getting the job done that you haven’t looked further than the next deadline. That all stops now. A growing business needs clearly defined, long term goals in order to thrive. Ideally, you should now be setting goals for the next one, five and ten years—and communicating to these to your team.
Although it may sound as though we’re trying to suck all of the life and passion out of your business, we’re really not. In fact, by taking a more grown up approach, your profits will soar—which will mean more cash for those team building trips and events.
Are you a startup founder our a small business owner? Read more: