It seems that every other day, we see a startup business go public for millions of dollars. As a small business owner, this can sometimes get a little discouraging. You’ve got more experience than a lot of these companies, so why can’t you do the same?
The key to startup growth is remaining agile, and sadly, staying agile is very hard to do.
I’ve seen this scenario in a lot of really great companies.
Somebody sees a great opportunity, wants to get it done, but first, it has to be approved by 5 different people. After that, it needs to be presented to the board, and once that’s done, they want a detailed plan going forward with milestone check-ins weekly along the way. The idea never makes it past the first five people, because the sheer amount of work ahead is discouraging.
While this is a great way to protect your company from major mistakes, it can also kill your company, here’s why:
Steve Blank, author of The Startup Owner’s Manual, said:
“What matters is having forward momentum and a tight fact-based data/metrics feedback loop to help you quickly recognize and reverse any incorrect decisions. That’s why startups are agile. By the time a big company gets the committee to organize the subcommittee to pick a meeting date, your startup could have made 20 decisions, reversed five of them and implemented the fifteen that worked.”
So how do you protect your company against the red tape that slows a lot of older companies down?
Simple. You cut the red tape.
First, make sure that people in your company can talk to anybody they need to. Communication is absolutely key to growth. When your departments start working together, they’re going to create some amazing things. Creating a chain of communication can easily become just that, chains. Chains that prevent great ideas from happening.
Now, this doesn’t mean everybody goes and bombards the CEO with every idea, but everyone should have the opportunity to work closely with their managers on projects and other departments. Decide which department will head the cross-department project, and move forward. Not only will this help great ideas happen, it’ll cut down on your turnover, because employees will have more relationships at work.
Another red tape issue is financing. It’s important to have access to the capital you need when you need it. Opportunities come fast, and if you miss that window, you’re going to have a huge amount of regret.
Startups can get a lot of financing quickly, because the equity is worth more when bought early. Unfortunately for older companies, that’s not as easy. Fortunately, there are options for you.
Make sure you have a good relationship with a lender. Line of credit’s can be an extremely valuable resource for cases like this, you don’t get charged with interest until you actually spend the money. Business credit cards work the same way.
There you have it, two quick and easy ways to make your business more like a startup, allowing for some quick growth.
What other things have you seen a company do to remain agile?