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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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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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