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8 Things Startups Overlook When They Expand Their Business

8 Things Startups Overlook When They Expand Their Business
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In the 21st century, millennials have been more and more inspired to build their own startups. Entrepreneurship has become the cool and trendy topic of this age.

The problem, though, is that most startups fail within three years. So, why are so many startups failing? The truth is that most startups overlook a lot of things as they expand their business, which usually leads to their demise.

Here are eight things that most startups overlook when trying to expand and grow their business.

1. The Right Employees

There is nothing more important than the people on your team. Business is a team sport, after all. If you don’t have the right players on your team, you won’t be making it to the playoffs.

“One of the things I overlooked was how important it was to hire the right people. Several times, we kept people around too long that weren’t contributing to the business.

We were much happier when we got the right people on the bus and the wrong people off. It helps set a precedent for a good company culture.” – Marcin Kleczynski, founder and CEO of Malwarebytes.

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2. Market Research

Remember your parents telling you to do your homework? It was and still is good advice, especially in the business world.

If you dive in without doing your due diligence, you can lose a lot of money or maybe even all of it.

“If your business is not competitive in your home country, problems will be magnified in all other countries. Start by visiting local retailers and watch consumers. We continually improve by honing in on the local shopping preferences.” – Philip Rooke, CEO of Spreadshirt.

3. Company Culture

Employees are attracted to companies that have a culture. It is a way for them to identify whether they will be a good fit for the company.

The quality of culture will positively or negatively affect employee retention.

“The main thing that we didn’t want to overlook is our company culture as we grew. Our strategy to not overlook this very important matter was to implement an organizational structure, we call Entrepreneur-ocracy.

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It is a corporate structure with no managers and allow employees to make critical decisions because they are empowered to do so.

Instead of managers, we have weekly team meetings that are overseen by elected moderators. By allowing managerial duties to be divided among the team members, we are on pace to save $1+ million dollars in operational expenses this year.” -Jessica Mah, CEO of inDinero.

4. Hiring The Services of Appropriate Professionals

Sometimes, startup employees will try to save money by giving more of their time to do other things. However, there are certain matters that should be left to the professionals.

“The most important thing that we overlooked was to get people that were competent in doing what they do best, specifically a CPA. I wish we hadn’t tried to do it ourselves. All we ended up doing was wasting time.

It would have taken 20 minutes for a CPA to do it. Yet, it took us 4 hours and we still weren’t doing it correctly. My advice is to reach out and ask other entrepreneurs for recommendations”, says Kim Kaupe (Co-Founder of Zinepak).

5. Internal Communication

Nothing is more important than ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Miscommunication can cost the company a great loss of time and even millions of dollars.

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“We’ve been around since 2001 and still learning how to be a global institution. The one thing that we overlooked is keeping internal communication open, clear, and flowing.

With an international organization, there are time differences and it’s really easy for people to feel disconnected. I would suggest establishing a monthly meeting for everyone to connect.” – Herman Heller, CEO of Runbook International.

6. A Contingency Plan

Most of us have been told to have a backup plan. That advice is even more pertinent in business.

If you are an expanding company, you are very likely to run out of money. You will need a contingency financing plan so you’ll know what to do if things cost more or take longer than expected.

“Being in danger of running out of money can cause huge morale problems and a big increase in employee stress.” – Ray Rothrock, CEO of Red Seal.

7. Seasoned Leadership

Everybody can’t be Lebron James. However, it will help your business greatly to have such a person with those qualities.

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“A successful startup cannot overlook the importance of having experienced leaders. Leaders who have experienced the full trajectory of a startup’s lifecycle, from garage to public trading and beyond.

The seasoned leader can increase sales, anticipate common pitfalls, and establish the startup’s culture as it expands beyond its initial creators.” – Vick Vaishnavi, CEO of Yottaa.

8. Sharing The Wealth

In this age, hourly wages are not enough anymore. Unless you are paying them an above average wage, you are going to need to offer some other incentives to keep them loyal to your company.

“Simply hiring people at minimum wage won’t keep loyal employees. It is important to incentivize your employees, giving them ownership in the vision.

When we began expanding, we hired people who were overqualified and asked them to learn the business for $10 an hour. Our incentive was to give them the opportunity to become owner operators if they stayed loyal to us.

Now, those committed employees are also stakeholders of the company.” – Justin Wetherill, CEO of uBreakiFix.

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Featured photo credit: Mac (by Financial Times) via imcreator.com

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Kallen Diggs

Bestselling Author / Magazine Editor / Syndicated Radio Show Host

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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