When it comes to attributing a list of important and common principles to run your business by, it might be worthwhile heading into adage territory. With this, you’ll be able to memorize them effectively, and they’ll help you in the day to day struggle for relevance every startup finds themselves in. We’d like to offer the golden rule of all, one which maintaining can help a business past any form of financial advantage, and a lack of it can close the doors to a firm even when all of the tools and funding is there.
What is this saying? Well, we have compounded it into the title ‘know thyself, and know thy employees.’ The use of olde English can be justified in that it helps the phrase sound more important, and relatively sacred. This should also serve as a tongue-in-cheek example of how important marketing and perception is in business. The practical use of this saying is of immense benefit to you, but it’s important to understand why.
In the following article, we have tried to show you how you can truly go about this, in a way that will last and is substantial. It’s important to try some if not all of the following tips. If you struggle with socializing and managing people as an entrepreneur (as skill essential to master,) then these can help you get the ball rolling well. If you’re an expert in reading people, there may be some advice in the following text which may help you continue to apply that deft social touch in situations which require it.
You’ll only know if you try.
What Business Leader Are You?
Working as an employee in a field, no matter your competence is much different from being a business leader. A business leader must call into action such a wide list of management virtues they can be too numerous to count. It’s important to know exactly what kind of leader you are, and if you don’t, it will become apparent within the first few weeks of your firm. Are you the type of person who is liable to complete tasks in the last minute, spurred on by a sense of duty and fear of failing to meet your tasks? In this case, working on your discipline, timekeeping and scheduling abilities is essential to becoming a leader worth your salt.
Or, are you the kind of highly-strung business leader who has a finger in everyone’s pie, and wants to know everything from the micro to macro level of operation in your firm? In this case, learning the very real skill of trusting and delegating to others tasks which need completing can help not only your management style but your general social and mental health.
Everyone has strengths, and you need to trust in them if you’re to be confident in opening a business in the first place. However, everyone has flaws, and so the sooner you can find these, work on them and turn them into strengths, the better off you’ll be. As the captain of the ship, it’s important that you are the bedrock of consistency here, so any investment in yourself is an investment in the firm.
Reflect On & Refine Your Goals
We all get into our own startup enterprise for our own reason. It’s similar to the feeling a writer penning a novel, or an artist painting a truly wonderful painting receives and expresses. The need to share your creative insight and spark with the world is a strong one. It can be so strong that getting started might feel like the only avenue you want to progress down, without even worrying about the ‘why’ behind your ‘how.’ We’d argue that the only way your firm will be successful is if you have a solid, defined, clear-cut and prescribed plan of achievement. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to get there? What component of your inspiration is the fundamental bedrock of your firm?
Are you out to do good within communities? Do you want to provide some of the best and most innovative products within an industry? Do you want to revolutionize and optimize how an entire section of the population perceives the current understanding around your product field? Or, do you want to do something as lofty as help the environment through setting an example to other corporations?
No matter if you’re here to invest something, to transform something or to simply be the best at what you do, you need this backbone of perspective to guide you through the dark first years of business. As you struggle for relevance, this is the thing that will keep you getting up out of bed in the morning, and willing to roll with the inevitable punches.
Also, you need to refine these goals as you progress. Understand that they may change depending on how the story of your firm pans out, and as you develop and learn more applying acquired lessons to your firm is advisable to say the least.
Your team is only ever as strong as its weakest link. This means that you will need to conduct professional and thorough staff vetting at all levels. Be sure to do this. Most firms find that in the mad sprint to hire new employees during a period of growth will neglect this, so long as the potential recruit can prove their qualifications. If you can, go further than this and try to get a read into the past character of those applying.
Sure, someone may have graduated from Harvard, have worked in a fortune 500 company and now feel like applying those skills to your idea which they consider revolutionary. That may be true, or they may have been fired from their previous job due to falling short in their working requirements. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily make the decision based on this. As ever, the decision lies with you as the owner of your enterprise. This can simply help you gain more of a complete picture of the people you are bringing into your firm. At the very least, it can help you figure out if the potential employee will mesh with the team well upon their initial arrival.
During your interview, it’s also important to prepare a list of questions which ask them to elaborate on a topic maybe not of seeming importance to the job role. Ask them candid questions that will encourage them to give long-form answers. Here you will see how comfortable they are in unpredictable social situations (a skill you want in an ambassador to your firm,) but it could also help you get a read on their character from an interpersonal perspective. If you want to continue further, consider the informal interviewing process stage. Invite them for an ‘informal’ yet professional interview to get to know them better. Ask them to order, and see how they treat the waitress. If you can justify it within the strict realms of professionalism, see what they are like in a pressured situation.
For example, seeing how they behave when under the slight influence of alcohol can help you see any weird issues come up which they might have otherwise hidden. This sounds like it’s intruding in their professional space, but if handled well and within respectful boundaries, this can be very useful to you. To elaborate further, if you’re in the fitness industry, working out during a long, hard and painful weights session with your prospective trainer can help you identify if they really know what they’re talking about, and what kind of person they are when subject to heavy physical stress.
These tips are highly specific and may not translate well to your firm, but the attitude and understanding of interacting in a novel social environment with your potential recruit should be clear in its potential benefits.
Despite the previous semi cross-examination tips we suggested you bring to your initial recruit interviews, when you have found someone to work for your firm, clear communication should be a priority for you both. This is much different from corporate communication. Don’t be afraid to imbue humor, and foster your own internal language in your firm. It’s true that families with the healthiest relationships have their own manner and way of speaking, so that must be true for workforces which spend a larger part of the week together. You can’t expect everyone to merge and get on with everyone else in your workforce, but you can encourage and foster an environment which is low-stress from a social perspective.
Allow everyone professional courtesy and respect, but don’t be afraid to bring humour into the workplace. Have pizza days where everyone is rewarded with a slice or two. Have wacky uniform days just for the sake of it, and organize professional outings for your firm. Getting to know those in your firm on a personal level will not only help you develop a more positive working experience but will tie everyone into the collective story of your brand. When it comes to working towards a collaborative goal you all share, feeling part of the same team as respected individuals can work wonders in helping you achieve. This could be as simple as letting your employee voice grievances, or rewarding your staff with important and intrinsically useful positive working implements
This could include ergonomic office stools or computer equipment such as dual-monitors, allowing for a more cohesive working experience. As your firm grows, invest in your staff in all areas for maximum benefit. After all, life is all about the journey and not the destination. Why it’s imperative you have a successful financial year, if that’s achieved with struggle, chaos and conflict, then it’s likely you’ll wonder why you even opened the firm to begin with.
Try and develop your interpersonal and social skills, and you’ll be sure to take care of these tips effectively. We certainly know that working for you would be a treat.