Your startup will probably be a very different company five years from now. More employees and shifts in strategy will have your company constantly evolving as it grows. Some companies lose their focus and flounder. With all of the changes you’ll face, here are some basic principles that will help to sustain your new business.
Encourage Employee Innovation
If you’ve motivated your employees, they’ll have a dedication to your company well beyond a weekly paycheck. They want you to succeed, and they want to be a part of it. Your employees know your processes and products from the inside out probably as well as you do, and sometimes even better. Invite their feedback and offer incentives for great ideas. They may be able to save your company time and money by offering suggestions that will improve processes, produce original product or service concepts, or provide market insights.
To further motivate your employees, offer rewards for those who create projects that help the company in a significant way. Host a product fair where employees can create a prototype of a product and present it to the execs—the winner and those who impress the company’s most elite can receive cash prizes if they give ownership of the product over to the company. This will instill your employees with pride and a sense of competition. It can also be a great resume booster for those employees who would like to move up in your organization.
Develop Iterative Processes
There should be a well-defined, written series of steps for everything that takes place within your company. This puts everyone on the same page as far as procedures, training, and expectations. It also makes it easier to introduce and track changes meant to boost productivity or shorten sales cycles. By constantly iterating through and refining your processes, you produce greater value.
Some entrepreneurs are initially so focused on sales that they forget about the customer as soon as they’re paid. Poor customer service costs companies $83 billion each year. Retaining customers is easier than acquiring new ones. Happy customers become company advocates. Building a relationship with them requires a thoughtful, helpful, empathetic approach from both your company policies and your representatives. Especially in today’s world of social media and online reviews, a company that doesn’t appreciate its customers or stand behind its products is not going to be around long-term.
A company that doesn’t optimize their equipment and facilities is running a foolish risk. Everything must be tailored to its purpose and routinely maintained. If something breaks down, major repairs, lost productivity, or employee accidents will cost you much more than preventative maintenance ever could. For example, if there’s a problem with the winch in an overhead crane that unloads trucks, a breakdown could become a serious problem. According to Shute Upton Engineering, a winch can be specially made to withstand harsh environments and heavy workloads, allowing it to perform better for longer.
Regularly look into every small detail related to the maintenance around your company’s buildings and operation systems to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.
Sustaining initial success over the next five or ten years requires careful planning. By appreciating your customers, your employees, and evaluating risks and priorities, you have a strategy that will keep you in business.