Setting up the right team is one of the most important things you can do for your business. A major misconception many founders have when building their startup is that they can hire smart or experienced people and just let them run with it. In reality, your business strategy needs to constantly expand to support each new person you hire.
It’s the job of a founder to train their team to execute on each project to fulfill your vision, so communicating your expectations is critical. An employee is generally just looking to do right by you and get paid for it. The easier you make their job, the less time they will spend trying to find alternate solutions and the more time focused on working harder for you.
There’s a bit more to it than expectations. It’s best to hire those who make a good fit in your organization. A good fit is intangible, but not impossible to find. If yours is a sales-led business, perhaps you will look for confident, outgoing people that like to engage with others. It’s important to think beyond the tasks and understand what the personality traits of successful employees look like at your company.
How can Take the Stairs help with my people management?
Our Nashville-based startup consulting firm helps startups like yours address what success means in every role within your organization. Whether it’s doing a baseline evaluation of your current staff, developing a playbook of the responsibilities for each role, or facilitating the hiring and onboarding process for your next employee, we’ve got you covered on your road to an exceptional company culture. When you have your hand on the pulse of the values you authentically stand for, you can attract people who believe what you believe.
Many founders can get blinded by their great idea and think that the hard work is done. In reality, it has just begun. A business without processes is chaos. Every single business needs processes to make the lives of the entire team easier. The beauty of a startup business is you have an opportunity to insert scalable workflows before you are too busy with the general operations of the business.
Your main goal with early process development is to keep things simple; this is particularly important for your prospects and clients. Make sure there is a clear path to purchase by removing as many barriers to entry as possible, and that customers can receive ongoing support to gain further buy-in to your business. Most importantly, make the process iterative: keep improving and ask your clients ways that you can make their lives easier.
Processes for your employees and vendors are also extremely important. At the end of the day, most people just want to know what the expectations are for success. If you can provide efficient workflows for your team and vendors, everyone wins.
How can Take the Stairs help with your processes?
Process planning has to be customized for every company, though the plan of attack is likely going to be the same. Wherever your business needs operations consulting services support, we will first determine the current workflow and then interview all key stakeholders within the process to understand their perception of how it’s working. From here, we take the information we’ve gathered together with the understanding of the overall company objectives, so that we can begin to implement a new process focused on everyone’s success.
For example, we worked with an attorney advertising firm looking to become more profitable within its digital marketing department. After an evaluation of the company’s current process, we learned that deliverables were not defined for its digital marketing retainers. We presented a solution to attach an hourly rate to all retainers, not only to increase client communication but also to avoid scope creep from “squeaky wheel” clients always asking for more. With approval from the executives, we implemented a monthly process for the department leader to make a custom plan of attack based on the allocated hours from each client. It allowed the department to have more conversations about increasing monthly hours with their clients based on the work they were doing. As a result, the department profits soared upwards.
Just remember that your work is never done. This is a living, breathing process. As you grow, you will continuously want to update your processes to match demand.
This category is known by multiple names – whether it’s product, technology, or things. Regardless of terminology, this refers to the non-living elements of your business that are an essential part of making your company more efficient. It could be the equipment, the materials, or the software you use to keep track of key elements of your business.
A startup founder often has limited capital and needs to spend it as efficiently as possible. Vendors will always tell you that their product is the best, and they are often prepared with handouts and slide decks that tell you why. The problem is that a few months later you may find out that the product isn’t everything you’d hope it would be. The key is to be constantly evaluating and negotiating with your suppliers to maximize the return from your operating expenses.
How can Take the Stairs help with your vendors?
Take the Stairs is well-versed in vendor selection. We take a pragmatic approach and know that it’s possible that each salesperson is more motivated to fulfill their quota than to provide the best solution for you (especially if it’s with another company).
We like to keep the process straightforward: after we understand your current processes and needs, we evaluate your current vendors and potential suitors for new offerings. Then, we set time with representatives from each vendor so we can better understand the scope of the services and how we got to the deliverables we have now. Finally, we look into alternatives options and determine if it will be better for your business to change vendors or stay the course with the current supplier.
Regardless of the path, it’s important to spend the time to ensure that your business has the right tool sets to get the job done.