Mistakes are never something we should fear. To fail is to learn, so when one decision or another doesn’t pan out, use the opportunity to grow. However, when it comes to success and the world of business, your wins need to outweigh your losses. Your startup should hit the ground running, not with a steady stream of potholes and road blocks in the way, but on as smooth a road as possible. For you and your co-founders, the best defense is a good offense. What does that mean here? Being proactive, educating yourself, and preparing against negative outcomes before they’re even a possibility. Below are a few things startup up businesses should strongly consider before moving forward.
1. Hire Logically, Not Emotionally
As an entrepreneur, you look to the resources you have available to you when you’re starting out. When it comes to hiring, your first instinct will probably be to look to family or friends, maybe colleagues or co-workers from previous jobs. It could work out great but the fact is that it’s a gamble. They might prove to be great for business or they’ll become your biggest headache before you know it.
Do yourself a favour and examine exactly what roles you need filled, determine the qualifications necessary for those positions and then measure candidates against the criteria you’ve established. Write everything down and come back to this document whenever a key role comes up. If you’re friends or family fall short of what you’re looking for, they’re not the best person for the job. Don’t hire someone ill-suited simply because you know them. When it comes to your startup, business comes first. Period.
2. Learn How To Communicate
Every single person in your company is not going to be on the same page as you when it comes to your startup if communication isn’t taken seriously. You know exactly what you want out of the company, but not every new hire will. Ideas, products, and services are just as important to your company’s success as your employees and coworkers.
You won’t have time to discuss every detail of the company with each person everyday. The best way to keep everyone focused on one vision is through an employee handbook. It doesn’t need to be a novel but by having a single document outlining company goals, values, and beliefs, alongside best business practices, everyone has a place to start and return to if they’re ever out-of-sync with the company.
Feedback is the other primary issue founders face when it comes to communication. Coworkers and employees will stumble, fall, and make mistakes. A poor leader is one that sees this happening and simply waits to discuss it at the next quarterly or yearly review. Again, be proactive. Provide feedback, help them make changes, give them the resources they need to do better. Immediate feedback is crucial in course correction and it’s up to you to provide it.
3. Employee Termination
Sometimes, someone just isn’t the right fit for your business. This can be difficult to see in the early days of a startup. After investing time and energy into someone, it can be hard for you make the call that this person is not working out. However, for the good of the company, its best to come to a decision of termination sooner than later. The longer they stay, the greater potential there is for harm towards the business.
For such occurrences, its imperative to have documentation throughout the process, not only upon termination. Document issues with said employee and any points of discipline, record feedback provided to the employee, both positive and negative, and file it away for easy reference and access. Do this will all employees from the beginning, that way you have clear records of any indiscretions and assistance you provided when it comes time to terminate their employment. It’s not fun or pleasant, but it’s a necessity of doing business. Accept it and do what’s best for the company.
There is much more to consider and learn, but these three points are a great starting point. The main lesson you should take from this is: be patient, take your time, and think. As long as you do that, you’ll be prepared for any issues that will crop up.