Perfecting the Direction of Your Startup Company
Too much to focus on with your startup? Learn how to perfect the direction of your startup company to avoid dropping all the balls.
When you’re just starting a business, there’s a lot of different emotions you feel. Primarily excitement, anticipation, and anxiety.
This is normal for such a momentous occasion in your life, but it’s best to try and channel the most positive aspects of each of these in order to push your company in a positive direction, right from the outset.
There are a lot of balls to keep in the air with a startup and it won’t be easy to juggle them all without some experience first. Unfortunately, this is probably experience you don’t already have and things will go sideways at some point — you can count on that. When this happens, take a step back and rely on all the life experiences you have had. Paired with that approach, this post will help you shape the right direction of your startup.
One of the best things you can do is understand your strengths and weaknesses, and that’s where we’re going to start.
Understanding Your Strengths and Weaknesses
When you’re just starting out, there’s a temptation to take on too much at once.
Why not, after all?
Why shouldn’t you strive to do absolutely everything that you can in order to see what sticks? You might not know your strengths and weaknesses until you try to do just that, and that’s a fair approach to take. However, if you’re starting out with an especially small team, you might find that this approach swiftly leads you to disappointment, simply due to the range of skills that might be demanded from your business. This could also be a problem that you encounter if you find that there are elements of your business you want to sharpen but find that nobody you work with has the relevant skills to make that happen.
A good example of this might be aspects of graphic design that you want to begin incorporating into your marketing, even if it’s something as simple as designing a sleek but effective logo for yourself. This might be a weakness of you and your team, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Your next step might be to enlist the help of a professional who can work with you in order to create your dream logo, and that same approach is something that can be applied in a myriad of other situations.
Just as you and your team get started and begin to realize the limitations of your own work, you’ll likely also begin to notice where you really excel. This can help to counter the disappointment that you may feel when you hit a wall in one area, knowing that you and your team are plenty capable in other, equally important areas. However, you might still find that these areas in which you find lower amounts of success still need to be taken care of. So, as before, consider the help of bringing other professionals on board with whom you can work to achieve the success you’re looking for.
There’s nothing wrong with doing this, and you need to learn to relinquish a little control so that you can focus on the direction of your startup. The next important step is knowing who to go to for what you need. If IT is your business, and you’re in need of an FTP server to carry out your operations – outsourcing to established providers like GoAnywhere, who offers an enterprise FTP server with a robust and secure way to manage their data exchange, is a perfect way to begin.
Set Realistic Targets
The world of business is one that can often fall victim to excessive glamourization from the media, which might be partly to do with the rising prominence of certain people who have become known as celebrity faces of certain companies. If this line of thinking is something that you had in your mind when you got into business, it might be a good idea to set some realistic expectations and targets for yourself before you find yourself facing the inevitable disappointment that will come from expecting to immediately hit that level. That’s not to say that there is no possible way that it could ever happen, but it might be unlikely, and it might not even be the appropriate endgame to imagine when getting into this line of work. You want to be successful, and you most certainly can be, but it’s important to get a good sense of context as to what success actually is, and what certain pieces of hyperbolic media make it appear to be.
Once you’ve reconfigured your mindset in this regard, you can begin to ruminate over the specifics of those targets that were mentioned before. The nature of these will change as you move through your business, and as a result of that, you might start out with some short-term targets and some long-term targets. The long-term targets might be years away from being achieved, but they’re there to provide you with a sense of direction and feeling that you’re not just existing to stay afloat – you have a purpose that you are moving towards. The short-term targets then act as stepping stones that will help you to get there, things that can be achieved in days, weeks or, in some cases, months, that signify some milestone of success.
The targets are there to provide you with a sense of structure, and goals to aim for in order to keep you on track. Things are never going to go absolutely to plan and that will mean that you will meet some of these targets on time or before, and others will miss their deadline or expected date. That’s okay, you have to work to adapt to this change and as long as you’re doing your best in this regard, that’s all that can be asked for you. However, a problem with setting these kinds of targets for yourself is that you can become fixated on a certain way of doing things, leading to frustration and discomfort when plans change. Learning to be curious about what these changes might bring, as well as the opportunities that they can offer, might help you to be more comfortable with letting go of what the changes remove – priming you to be much more able to cope with the shifting nature of the business world.
Understanding the Benefit of Help
As previously discussed, it’s important that you’re open to the prospect of being helped by other professionals when you’re in business for the simple fact that you can provide each other with something that the other needs. Reaping the benefits of this relationship can put you in a position where your business is able to overcome obstacles that would usually be very difficult to overcome given the weaknesses of you and your team. Knowing that you can try and forge the necessary relationships to combat these issues can help you to move through the world of business with a sense of confidence and enthusiasm that might be necessary to succeed.
However, that’s not the only form in which help might manifest itself in business. One of the more obvious ways in which you might want to rely on help is through your employees and co-workers. It can be tempting for those behind a business to view themselves as the primary driver of the business, and those they employ as simply being replaceable, ancillary cogs that help the overall thing to function. This is certainly one way to look at it, but you might find that this diminishes your ability to get the most out of what a positive working relationship with your employees can offer. Firstly, working for someone who sees you as replaceable or as somehow beneath them is something people notice fairly quickly, and may well have its share of consequences. If you feel as though you are seen as replaceable, you might begin to feel as though you could be replaced at any moment, and the prospect of work elsewhere, in a more positive environment, immediately becomes much more appealing. Over enough employees, this will quickly lead your business to have a high staff turnover, which is a reputation that may well stick with you as prospective candidates for jobs are turned away by what it means for the working environment.
Of course, this is something that can all be avoided by cultivating a much more positive workspace, in which your staff members are appreciated and valued. This, in turn, might encourage them to care more about the space in which they work and therefore prompt them to be more productive in their roles. This might be especially true in the context of a startup company, where your employees might feel as though they’re a part of something special that they managed to get in on at the ground floor. When you hire people to perform a certain task in your business, it’s easy to let that employer-employee dynamic get the better of how you interact with this person. However, learning to look at this dynamic as a way for you to both benefit can help you to see this for what it truly is – a fresh perspective. Constantly relying on your own perspective to guide the business in the right direction might have you encountering the same problem again and again, or alternatively, repeatedly struggling to overcome the same issue. New perspectives can open the door to new solutions, and enough of them can fill in the blanks that one is lacking.
If you continue to struggle, come back and check out some of the other posts on growth hacking your way to success.