Run Your Startup as a Tight Ship

Credit: BBVA

Not a lot of room for error in a newborn business.

Startup businesses are popping up all over the place these days. It’s a pretty interesting time to be in the game; every little niche you can think of is developing its own associated business, and niche though they may be, quite a few are flourishing. If you want to get in on the action, it’s certainly a great time for it. However, a trap that a lot of new business owners fall into is being too lax. When you start your own business, you want to be the “fun place” that everyone likes to work at. It’s good to take it easy and maintain good morale, but if you take it too easy, no work is going to get done. Remember these steps to help keep your newly-sailing ship nice and tight.

Map Out the Workflow

There’s a point A and a point B, so how are you going to get there? Every big project has a particular order of operations, and you need to make those as clear as humanly possible to your employees. Write down instructions, provide visual aids, and keep that information in an easily accessible place. Ideally, you don’t want anyone to be in a position where they have to derail the project just to start from step one (though if someone does need help, you should still provide it).

Track Milestones

As the days blur together, it can start to feel like you’re stuck in a loop with no progress at all. Keep a flowchart in the office of major milestones and key development decisions. As long as you’re meeting those milestones, you’re on the right track. At the same time, you’ll also want to ensure you’re on budget. Certain milestones and decisions will likely incur certain expenses. If you plan for those expenses, that’s fine, but if something hits the books that shouldn’t, you need to fix it promptly.

Credit: Columbia Entrepreneurship

Get the Best Tools You Can

Your startup should have access to all of the relevant tools for whatever industry you’re in. If you’re writing-focused, for instance, you should have things like plagiarism checkers and cloud storage. One thing you should have no matter what industry you’re in is a project management tool. Employees can’t always be sitting right next to each other, reporting progress verbally. There needs to be a checklist everyone can access so that everyone knows the appropriate steps have been fulfilled.

Adjust on the Fly

Above all else, be flexible. A kite flies on a string, not a stick, to quote a wise woman. You should always be looking for ways to improve your process while maintaining morale and productivity. Keep an open-door policy for your employees; if something’s not working out, you want them to tell you. More than likely, your company’s makeup will change at least a little between when you start a project and when you finish it. That’s normal. Evolution is an important part of a thriving business.

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4 months ago
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