If you need to reinvigorate your business, have you ever thought of utilizing startup culture as part of your business plan? According to TechTarget, startup culture is a workplace environment that values creative problem solving, open communication, and a flat hierarchy. These businesses thrive on the mentality to innovate and grow — even if they must deviate from the traditional business format to make themselves stand out from the competition.
Sometimes businesses become comfortable with their culture when they establish themselves and leave the startup mentality behind. But leaving behind innovation, creativity, change and growth-oriented roots could be detrimental to your business’s future. Without change, your business could fall behind with technological and operational advances, leaving an opportunity for competitors to take the lead.
As an innovative forward-thinker who is passionate about identifying and creating new opportunities for business development and growth, I highly recommend implementing the startup mentality into your business to encourage innovation, creativity, expansion and solutions. With the following tips below, your business will be on the fast track to success.
Look for New Ideas
In Startup Culture: Leaders are constantly searching for creative solutions and new ideas to improve their business. Even if they’re not at the office, they’re consistently browsing the internet, reading the latest industry news, and perhaps asking other startup businesses for advice. Even an “Aha!” moment in the shower can make its way into a business plan.
How to Implement: Always be on the lookout for business models or practices that might improve your company. For example, you can stay updated on news and trends in your industry by reading sources specifically geared to your niche. You can also attend leadership seminars or conferences that focus on improving your business and solving problems facing your company. And if you have an epiphany about your business in the shower, don’t let that idea slip away!
Engage With Your Customers
In Startup Culture: Open communication between the business and the customer is common. Constant customer feedback is necessary to develop a business or product the public wants and/or needs. This may change with time. The feedback is often used as a springboard to develop business ideas that will improve the business.
How to Implement: Create an easy way to get feedback from your customers. Compose an electronic survey using a free program like SurveyMonkey or Wufoo to send to customers via email. Here is a sample of some questions you may want to include:
- Why do you use our business?
- How did you find our business?
- Overall, how would you rate your satisfaction with us?
- How often do you use our services?
- How long have you used our services?
- How would you rate the quality of our service?
- How would you rate the quality of our products?
- What changes could we make to improve your experience with us?
- Do you have any additional comments?
Although you’ll only receive about a 10-15 percent response rate, any feedback is beneficial to improve your business. No more than ten survey questions are recommended, because more questions will decrease your response rate.
You can also go the extra mile by taking time to individually respond to customer comments from the survey. Thank your customers for their business to show your appreciation, and ask them if they need anything else from your business. This personable business tactic will make you seem like a genuine and caring leader.
Observe Your Employees
In Startup Culture: Everyone is on the same level of the hierarchy, regardless of their past experience. There are little boundaries and no titles.
How to Implement: Imagine you‘re on the same level as your employees for a day. Step away from your desk and see them in action as they complete their daily tasks. You don’t need to become an “Undercover Boss,” but spend time with the employees below you to see what their job is like. Your employees will feel appreciative of their boss making an effort to become familiar with the daily operations of the company. Not only will they view you as an equal, but you might see a problem you didn’t know about before — and learn how to correct it properly.
Consistently Evaluate Your Business
In Startup Culture: The business is constantly changing, so leaders often reflect on their practices and models to achieve growth and success. Due to growing pains, businesses frequently readjust and reevaluate to improve their overall services for their customers and experience for their employees.
How to Implement: To ensure successful growth, evaluate your business once every six months. Remember to look for new ideas, engage with your customers, and observe your employees to encourage innovation, creativity, expansion and solutions.