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8 Things Startups Overlook When They Expand Their Business

8 Things Startups Overlook When They Expand Their Business

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.

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 April 6, 2020

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Let me guess.

You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

2. Use Red and Blue More Often

Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

3. Create a Break Agenda

List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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5. Take It Outside!

Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

6. Become Productively Lazy

Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

9. Prepping the Night

Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

11. Set-up Mini Tasks

If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

13. Redecorate Your Room

Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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14. Ready Your Nibbles

You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

15. Schedule Your Chores

Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

Reference

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