6 Ways to Keep Your Startup Agile While Growing

The culture that fuels startup growth is often lost when the company gets big, but it is not inevitable.

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By John Rampton


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In football, the running back is known for his agility in running with the ball after receiving a pass or handoff from the quarterback or another teammate. As football players go, he's lean and on the smaller side - 5'11" is the average height for a running back. His smaller size allows him to be flexible and agile.

Just like a running back, small startups are nimble and quick, and unlike big, established corporations, startups don't have a set culture or legacy systems to deal with. But as all good startups are wont to do, staying small isn't in the game plan. The same things that set startups apart from big corporations, and in turn make them successful, are some of the first things to go as a business grows. But, just as bigger running backs called "power backs" still get the job done, startup businesses can still remain agile and flexible while growing in size. Here are the things you need to do to keep your startup agile while still growing the business:

1. Be open to change.

Startup businesses open to change are more skillful in lessening the effect of outside forces, as well as profiting by the doors they might open. A recent report shows that that 92 perceny of businesses that are profoundly successful at change administration report high or moderate agility.

Related: Change Is Good. Now, How to Get Employees to Buy In

2. Use technology to your advantage.

Cloud computing is one aspect of technology that you can use to keep your startup agile in the long run. The cloud offers affordable options and gives companies a reach that they wouldn't have been able to achieve without its boost. Since many startups don't hold employees to traditional working hours, the cloud is an excellent way for employees to stay in touch and communicate when they aren't in the office. In addition, combining big data with the cloud allows businesses to have storage within the cloud and employ CRM software and cloud ERP on any device, anywhere.

3. Stick with social media.

Startups have seen multiple benefits of using social media. Because smaller startups don't have the stratified structure that large corporations do, they can respond to customer complaints and suggestions on social media, while still promoting their brand and more customer engagement. Many startups have utilized gamification to drive customers to their social media pages or sites, and to encourage a unique experience for their customers. In layman's terms, gamification is rewarding your customers for sharing your posts, commenting, or interacting in other ways to spread your content.

Related: 5 Competitive Advantages Startups Have Over Big Businesses

4. Communicate more.

There really is no such thing as too much communication. In a startup, the atmosphere is perfect for communicating because startups and their employees are typically a small, tight-knit group who are all invested in how the company is succeeding… or not. In a group that is small and works closely together, communication is also imperative to maintaining the peace.

There are always boundaries around what can be shared and when, but it's best to maintain an open atmosphere where new plans, successes, failures and decisions big and small is always communicated. This is easy in a small business, but as your business grows it is imperative to develop a team whose main responsibility is to communicate everything down the line, keeping that startup feel.

5. Seek maximum talent.

In a small startup, you need to hire the best of the best to keep your company agile. In seeking employees with maximum talent, you should look for people who are passionate about your product or service, are capable and smart, and can adapt to a fast-paced and ever changing environment. Employees with maximum talent will also show a desire and ability to grow with the business.

Large corporations can sometimes get caught in a cycle of hiring mediocre talent just so that they can get a position filled. As your business grows you risk falling into the same pattern. To insure that you don't take that path, look beyond a job candidate's resume. Look for experience working at a company that is on the same track as yours. You also want to make sure that the candidates are adventurous, personable and professional. You people willing to take risks to achieve something greater.

Related: Find Your Next Great Hire on Twitter

6. Set goals for growth.

For a startup to reach a point where it has a revenue of $100 thousand a month takes a lot of hard work. But it's a great milestone to reach because it shows that you've got a good product and you know how to get customers in touch with it. It is also the point where a lot of startups are tired and they just want to stay where they are. This complacency can be a dangerous thing for a startup, and to make it past this plateau the business needs to have goals for more growth.

Having a focus on growth makes everybody in the company look for opportunities, investments, and ways to be efficient and scalable. Having a goal for growth that cannot be met with the minimum amount of effort is a great way to create a tension that is constructive and creative in its approach.

A good way to set a goal for growth is to look at your market and its growth and then set a goal slightly ahead of that. You want to make it hard enough that you won't settle into complacency.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

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