When most people think of startups, they think ping pong tables, sleeping pods, and flexible work hours. However, while having a comfortable work environment does increase motivation and workplace productivity, it only plays a small role in ensuring your company’s long-term success. Developing a long-term company’s culture has therefore become an increasingly important priority for many young entrepreneurs.
The most important aspect when laying out the framework for your company is establishing a set of values that will guide your company from its early stages to maturity. As such, culture is something that needs to be cultivated from the very beginning, since the values and identity that you establish now will determine the natural growth of your company. By making a concerted effort to establish that value system, as well as the type of relationships that exist between employees, you can have a greater control over what your company will look like in the next five to 10 years.
We spoke to a number of startup CEOs and asked what the most important part of the company culture is. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction will always be at the core of everything we will do. My number one priority is to ensure that all our activities are focused on building great value, and an incredible experience for users. This will always be the guiding philosophy for my business ventures. Also, having this focus will ensure that we don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.
– Raman Shrivastava, Fyne
Curiosity. Personally, I think it’s important to ask questions of ourselves, our customers, and our world. Particularly with technology, I think its important to continually ask where our industry is heading, and what measures we can take to creatively adapt to that direction. When you encourage this type of mentality among your employees, it creates a very transparent environment in the work place, and also allows new insights and opportunities to arise.
– Preet Anand, Bluelight
Communication. It is essential to constantly communicate the vision, goals, and progress of the company to your employees on a continual basis. In doing so, employees are given a realistic assessment about the current state of the company, and are reminded that they have control over what direction it goes in. When employees know where they’re going, and are positively encouraged, it is easier for them to get there.
– Dan Daugherty, Remotely
Honesty and flexibility. I try to be 100% honest with my employees at all times. This means being fully transparent, and they appreciate that. I give them full flexibility on work hours, and I trust them to get the job done, WHENEVER they feel like working. I don’t micromanage them. If I have to do that, I know the person won’t last long. I need to trust them, and they need to trust me. And this way, we each give each other flexibility to be more successful.
– Paul Ruderman, UpdateZen
5. Focus On What You Have
I always remind myself and my employees to stay focused on existing business. We all love the growth and buzz of winning new clients, but this sometimes means that our focus is taken away from our existing customer base. We are introducing a dedicated process which is applied to each of our existing accounts, a repeatable workflow engrained within our culture to maintain focus on customer satisfaction and retention. The culture of going that extra mile is tried and tested.
– Robert Sturt, Network Union