Running your own startup means you are fully in charge. You are responsible for the vision, trajectory, and your team. This is a privilege, but it can also be a daunting task. After all, it’s your dream on the line. You need to make sure your company can handle whatever is thrown your way.
You can do this by building a strong company culture. If your team knows what you expect, they can truly understand your vision and execute it.
Know your values
Like everything else in business, company culture begins with you. You’re in charge of setting the tone and pace from the very beginning. So, before you assemble a team and gather resources, make sure you have a strong idea of what you want your company culture to be. You need to know, deep in your core, what makes you different.
Another solid way to clarify your values is to consult a business mentor. Not only can you learn from their mistakes, you can benefit from their expertise and network. Lastly, do some research. Which companies inspire you? Look at their mission statements, branding and advertising. Borrow from their philosophy and integrate it into your own.
Hire essential team members
Another way to build a strong company culture is to make sure you hiring the right people. “It takes great discipline, and time, to hold out for the right team members,” according to Asset Drone CEO Jason Worley. “But your business success hinges on this factor.”
Undergoing a proper and thorough recruitment process can be a time-consuming process, but it’ll save you time, money and headaches in the long run. “The costs of a problematic employee go beyond the direct effects of that employee’s actions — bad behaviors of one employee spill over into the behaviors of other employees through peer effects.” One bad apple can (and will) ruin the bunch.
Improve communication throughout your company by being clear about your expectations. Transparency is highly valued by employees. In an Edelman Trust Barometer global survey, 89% of employees said honesty is the most important quality their bosses could have, according to CEO Magazine.
Work on your active listening. “A big part of the success of active listening relies on your ability to relate to your conversation partner. The easiest way to do this is to ask questions. You can clear up any uncertainty you might have. The person you are speaking to will also appreciate your attentiveness,” according to Answer 1.
In a startup, every team member plays an essential role. When you listen well and improve communication on all levels, you put your team first. You never know where the next big idea will come from. If your communication is solid, it won’t pass you by.
Building a business is hard work, but if you take the time to build a solid company culture, that work will be rewarding. When you know your values, prioritize the right team, and improve communication, your startup will easily stand out from the competition.
Parker Davis is the CEO of Answer 1, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. Since 2015, Parker has been responsible for Answer 1’s strategic vision, senior level management, and equity creation. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. He has an M.B.A from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame. Connect with @answer1 on Twitter.