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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 July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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