Most startups are launched with pure enthusiasm. “I have a great idea that will be helpful to many,” “I love this or that way of doing business, I’ll have so much fun with my startup,” “My expertise is in demand today,” newly-minted businesspeople exclaim.
Yet when the grey routine of everyday business is your best friend, and your startup progresses slowly, enthusiasm alone is not enough — what you need is business wisdom accumulated by countless entrepreneurs. Here are some smart tips about what newly-minted businesspeople often ignore and what they should pay attention to.
Prime Reasons Startups Develop Slowly For:
1. People Don’t Know How To Plan
Yet they try to plan every day. They carefully write tasks for themselves. The problem is that people see each day as a separate and final day.
They can have 10 tasks for the day and carry them out at random. Tasks not completed during the day are chaotically moved to tomorrow’s list or the endless waiting list. As a result, important tasks are sometimes postponed for a long time, each day is a list of chores to do, and one has no time and energy for creation and reflection.
There is a lot of literature on planning, where one can learn how to do it correctly. For example, start each day with the key tasks that can change your business or bring you a lot of money. Delegate routine tasks and make sure you have some time to spend in quiet reflection.
2. People Don’t Know How To Prioritize
This means they mix up tasks and big projects. Big projects seem too big, and it’s like they’re waiting their turn, so they are put off until the last minute. This leads to not learning, not growing, and most importantly, business becomes static.
Everything is reduced to urgent — tactical — “tasks” to the detriment of the strategically important ones. Prioritization is very individual, but you can start by asking yourself these questions: will what I do affect the number of my clients, average check, customer loyalty, ability to serve more clients, market position, or money?
If what you do is not a business priority, then maybe you should postpone it.
3. People Don’t Want To Delegate
If you’re unwilling to delegate, that can make you tense: doing everything at once, or combining several areas of expertise, isn’t a good idea.
For example, you can’t be both a marketer and an accountant. You shouldn’t keep in mind the details of several marketing campaigns you need to run and accounting tasks and knowledge, from amortization nuances to pay stub abbreviations and acronyms. When key employees are overburdened like that, everything is always urgent, and nothing is ever done on time. So, before taking any task, ask yourself:
- Can I delegate it to anyone right away?
- Can anyone do the task better or faster than me?
- Does the task affect a key business metric (number of customers, their loyalty, the company’s average check, or profit)?
If your answer is “yes” to the first or second question or “no” to the last question, delegate the task!
There are at least two ways to delegate:
- Delegate a task in its broad outlines, let the employee think about it, and do a part of it. Then look at the intermediate result and adjust the task.
- Explain why the task should be done, what result or functionality you expect to get, break the task down into chunks together with the employee, set a deadline for each chunk, and monitor the process several times.
4. People Don’t Have A Common Goal
We’re all used to receiving a goal from above. Figuring out what it is we want is our responsibility. Many people avoid it in many areas of their life, including business. It’s always felt when the team doesn’t have a goal they can identify with.
It’s even worse if top management offers new goals every day. Managing by this principle wears people down and doesn’t get the company anywhere! And it affects everything: the priorities, the way people plan their work, whether they think in terms of money or other KPIs.
Ideally, the whole company should be a single chain for creating one value and delivering that value to the client. At a given point in time, only one project must be done by the entire team. Only after that project should the whole team move on to another one. And at any given point in time, employees must understand the order of priorities.
5. People Don’t Listen To Each Other
And they don’t even always know what their colleagues are working on! People don’t discuss work goals, problems, and tasks. Understanding what your colleague lives by not only gives you a sense of community and saves time but also allows you to build a value chain better.
6. People Neglect Analytics
Analytics? Metrics? What are they? If you evaluate your business only by the amount of profit, it doesn’t tell you enough. Every employee, every department has to understand how their performance is measured and keep track of it. If that’s not happening, you don’t know what you need to change, where you’re going to, and how well they work is done.
Plan, prioritize, instill a sense of common goal and friendliness in your team, delegate, and analyze. If you do all that, your startup will be developing faster, and your enthusiasm won’t burn in vain.