Why Strong Leaders are Essential for Growing Startups
- On this page:
- Company Culture
- Inspiring Employees
- Latching Onto Opportunities
Invested time and money is often the cause of immense pressure and anxiety for business owners and entrepreneurs who are setting up their startup. The biggest fear for entrepreneurs is not staying afloat in the market. Establishing a startup requires not just patience but also the vision to make the right choices at the right time. These choices extend from the number of the resources you employ in the early stages, understanding the speed at which you as a business need to scale and grow and most importantly how to achieve that growth in a short time period. There are several crossroads to deal with, and great leadership is perhaps the utmost requirement for a startup to establish itself and accelerate to the top of the industry.
What is startup leadership?
Startup leadership is about bridging the gap between the problems your employees face and the possible solutions you can employ to make their lives easier. Let’s analyze why leadership is important for growing startups.
We are to look at businesses outside of the financial aspect of their success. It is worth noting that some of the best companies in the world are also spaces where there’s a strong and defined company culture.
So what is company culture? In short, imagine a workplace without a manager or a senior person available on the floor. The culture is how people respond to when there’s no particular semblance of immediate accountability. Does the standard of work and dedication reduce when there’s no authority figure on the floor,
or does it remain close to the standard? What this essentially means is that company culture is about owning the business and the responsibilities associated with your position without any pressure. Care for the growth of the business and the acceleration of its success is never in-bred into all resources; it has to be cultivated. An employee working 9-5 will most likely not share the same dedication to the business and its growth as the founder or CEO because they aren’t invested in its success the same way.
This is precisely where leadership comes into play. For startups, it is hard to find a solid footing in the overly-competitive world of today, for which it is essential that all resources take adequate ownership of the business and associate its success to their own.
A good leader understands the motivations of his team, what it takes to bring out the best from them and cultivate this culture of ownership and dedication, something that is rare in the world today. This is achieved through incentives to employees, observation of the character and behavior of the team leaders or bosses.
The best way to deploy such a culture is by trickling it down from higher positions to those under them. The attitude employed by managers translates into their teams, slowly and gradually becomes the overall culture. This needs to be precise, clear, and based on the mutual interest of the company and the employees. Without a great leader, a workspace can become relaxed, disorganized, and distracted from achieving the mission they set out to accomplish as a company.
Established businesses often have a mechanical way of working, with each stage in their product cycle or sales cycle figured out, for startups, these things can be challenging. Innovation is an art not accessible to all, yet it is perhaps the most essential factor in deciding the future of a business and its standing in the global market. Leaders are responsible for creating change, setting new standards, and continuously improving on the standard of work that is being done.
Analyzing the pain points of employees, understanding where a process is lacking and what can be done to optimize business processes is something that a good leader should always be looking towards. This can be a simple shift from one software to another that is more user-friendly to implementing and integrating new technology in the workspace that opens an avenue for better ways of handling different processes, such as marketing.
Sometimes, problems aren’t just errors or mistakes that are made by employees, problems can be the limitation of the structure within teams are working or the stagnation of a company’s progress due to internal and external factors. A good startup will always be able to reshape their structures and way of working with an ever-evolving status quo, reinventing the way particular processes are done to gain better results. How you solve these problems is dependent on the analysis of those in positions to make such a high-stakes decision, and this is where being a good leader comes into play.
The issue with such drastic changes is that there is a need to find the right balance between radical change and the comfort of your team. Change can often disrupt and de-tune the resources as they aren’t able to adapt to these new changes. As a leader, it is crucial to understand that change needs to be controlled, molded to best fit the situation your business is in but also ensures that adaptability of your team so as to not affect their performance in a non-reversible way.
How can startup entrepreneurs look for problems to solve?
Talk to your employees, discuss the problems they are facing. Your employees are your best source of information regarding the problems that you as a leader can solve.
Startups, there is no reward without risk. As a new business, there are many questions and conundrums that you will come across. These questions can be of a financial nature or managerial nature. One of the toughest assessments for all startups is to decide when exactly they should scale their operations. This requires not just a belief in the ability of the company to remain at a certain standard but also a belief that hiring more resources, committing to a larger workspace and other such scalability actions will not weigh down on the company’s ability to make a profit.
The belief in projected revenue and the belief in the strength of the resources you have in-house to maintain that projection is a risk-assessment that defines one of the most crucial times in a business’ lifespan. This is a decision that requires complete ownership and trust in not just numbers but also your gut feeling as a decision-maker, something the distinguishes great leaders from the not so great leaders. If made correctly, a business can grow, employ more skilled resources, and spend more on its processes, eventually translating into better revenue and profit. On the other hand, a hasty decision can often lead to the inability to the business to keep up with rising costs of operation and too late a decision can often mean that some other company has taken up your place in the industry, making you a follower instead of a thought leader.
What does a good leader mean for a small business? A good leader is someone who understands the mission statement behind a company and drives the company to achieve those goals in a sustainable way.
As a leader, you’re not just responsible for making the right decision, but it is also important to make those decisions at the right time to ensure maximum growth. This holds true for other such decisions such as partnerships, going global with your company and increasing the number of workspaces you have in the country or the world. These are risks with big investments, and if done correctly with the correct vision can lead to great overall success for a company.
All startups face good and bad months. The revenue stream is never constant with some quarters giving good results while some quarters indicate low performance. Bad quarters can often lead to demotivation for the resources directly responsible, such as the sales team at a company.
How you react to these quarters is predicated on the attitude you have as a company. There are two simple options. A regressive mindset would create performance pressure without any understanding of what exactly caused this drop in the standard. Contrary to this, a progressive mindset would not just take a dip in the revenue stream as a challenge to overcome but would also analyze the factors that resulted into a low-performing quarter and work towards possible solutions, given that the factors are controllable and not outside a company’s control.
At this juncture, it is particularly important for managers and team leaders to adopt a positive and inspiring attitude. This does not mean that you shouldn’t hold resources accountable for not delivering on their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), but it is also important to inspire them to do better than they already have. This attitude can come with leaders investing more time into the process and more actively engaging with their teams to assess the reasons behind this fallout.
While doing so, it is also important to not micro-manage your resources, which could lead to a further feeling of demotivation for employees for whom it could be an indicator of a lack of trust in their abilities. It is essential to take these low performing quarters head-on, and the positive attitude to come back from this rests on the shoulders of team leaders.
Within a company, hierarchy plays a massive role in defining the attitude. By involving themselves more into the process and dedicating time to overcoming this struggle, leaders can inspire employees to be better than before, working harder on their weaknesses and delivering a better result in the next quarter.
Inspiring employees is vital as attitude is linked to their performance. A team with low morale is more likely to succumb to the pressure of a bad month or quarter as opposed to a team that is driven to understand where they faltered and work on possible ways to overcome these challenges.
As a leader, a team’s morale and attitude are your responsibility, and a good leader recognizes that. Adopting such a growth mindset results in better performance, a more dedicated approach, and constant diagnosis of issues and ways to solve them.
Latching onto opportunities:
The modern world, connections are incredibly meaningful if you want your company to find its own recognized place in the industry. Each year, newer and better opportunities are available for businesses to showcase their services and products and make a name for themselves. This can be PR events that are happening, such as TechCrunch’s disrupt, where great business minds and companies come to showcase their products and services. This is an example of a great networking event that can connect you with the right people in the right place. Understanding where you, as a company can make the best connections and get linked with people who can help your business to grow is crucial. This is not only an opportunity to learn and ideate with industry leaders but also an excellent avenue for marketing and even exposure to your brand.
These events often are platforms that give you a great deal of insight on what the future looks like, what businesses should focus on to succeed in the future and better understand the trends within the global market. Having access to these opportunities can give you great insight on how to carry forward your startup and tailor it to success in an ever-evolving world.
There are many events and opportunities that promise these things to startups, but only a few of them are the perfect fit for your business, depending on the niche you operate in. When such opportunities come your way, it is important to latch onto the ones that you think will bring you closer to achieving your mission.
In such times as a startup, it is a legitimate concern to evaluate the benefit in contrast to the cost of attending such events or partaking in competitions such as these. Yet, if correctly assessed with the correct vision, these can be life-changing experiences that can really propel your business ahead of the competitive curve of your industry. This is what great leadership is all about, recognizing opportunities that are best fit for you and through them you take your business to the next step, fueling the growth in a world where finding success has become increasingly harder.
The question that is frequently asked by aspiring entrepreneurs is, “What skills do future leaders need?” The simple answer is, for future leaders, it’s important to always be willing to listen, first. You should be able to think outside the box and be patient when it comes to results. This is something all future leaders and entrepreneurs need to develop to face the challenges they will face.
[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqub1ka77nr” html=”true” headline=”p” img=”” question=”What is startup leadership?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]Startup leadership is about bridging the gap between the problems your employees face and the possible solutions you can employ to make their lives easier.[/sc_fs_faq]
[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqtseod7879″ html=”true” headline=”p” img=”” question=”How can startup entrepreneurs look for problems to solve?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]Talk to your employees, discuss the problems they are facing. Your employees are your best source of information regarding the problems that you as a leader can solve.[/sc_fs_faq]
[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqftrcq44j4″ html=”true” headline=”p” img=”” question=”What does a good leader mean for a small business?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]A good leader is someone who understands the mission statement behind a company and drives the company to achieving those goals in a sustainable way.[/sc_fs_faq]
[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqs9ccrhj8t” html=”true” headline=”p” img=”” question=”What skills do future leaders need?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]For future leaders it’s important to always be willing to listen, first. You should be able to think outside the box and be patient when it comes to results. This is something all future leaders and entrepreneurs need to develop to face the challenges they will face.[/sc_fs_faq]
Author : Ryan
Ryan is an avid tech enthusiast and Regional Partner at Tekrevol, Houston, a leading app development firm. His passion lies in using technology to help people out, especially aspiring entrepreneurs. Among other things, Ryan has expertise in data analysis, business strategy development,leadership & management, strategic marketing, asset management, and portfolio management.
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