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3 culture hacks for sustaining startup success

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3 culture hacks for sustaining startup success

Emerging entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates.

Paying for prototypes, securing investment, hiring staff and finding premises make launching a startup rather stressful.

So it might not feel like there’s much time for the tricky task of embedding the kind of organisational culture that leads to long-term success.

But if you don’t get to grips with embedding culture immediately, it’s almost impossible to implement successfully down the line — and this oversight could sink your business.

So these three culture hacks for sustaining startup success should set you straight.

Inspire staff with your story

You’re probably familiar with the concept of developing a brand story that attracts external customers.

But selling the brand inside ensures that your own staff are convinced that your business is worthwhile, fulfilling and useful.

And that means that they’ll represent your firm far more authentically to customers.

There’s no need to overwhelm staff with evangelical internal marketing.

But a simple, straightforward and powerful story about how and why your firm came into being can provide a career’s worth of motivation.

Define your mission and values

Once everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet about your story it’s time to think about your mission and values.

These principles apply whether you’re a financial consultancy specialising in offshore company formation or a bespoke dog-walking service operating in your own community.

To define your mission, consider the problems your products and services solve for customers and why this makes their lives better.

When you’re formulating values you need to decide the best ways to conduct yourself as you carry out your mission — the positive behaviours that will engage customers and ensure that staff remain committed.

Simple but clearly defined values work best — remember that these are the standards of service and behaviour that will be applied in your firm forever.

Encourage and enforce

If you’ve managed to sell your story inside and defined your mission and values, you’re well on the way to combining these elements into an effective culture.

But protecting and maintaining your hard work will be more challenging as you expand and develop.

So you need to implement systems that make company culture scalable.

Culture is top-led and bottom fed — so make sure that you and your senior staff always live up to declared values in everything you do.

And task a team of cultural champions that promote your values and celebrate staff who embody them.

It’s also essential that your hiring decisions are based on cultural criteria as well as technical skills so that new starts slot smoothly into your operation.

But crucially, your values have to be aligned seamlessly with performance appraisals that apply to all staff. They’re not aspirational — they’re the only acceptable ways to behave in your company.

So if any staff member regularly and wilfully displays behaviour that completely contradicts your cultural standards, they should be swiftly shown the door.

Follow these three culture hacks for sustaining startup success and you’ll be running a tight ship with happy sailors.

What business culture do you admire? Share your stories in the comments section.

I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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