Getting a startup off the ground can be grueling work. Late nights, constant stress, and endless expenses can leave you feeling exhausted. It can be a relief when the initial smoke clears and you find that you're still in business.
While you've earned a pat on the back at this point, though, your work isn't done. Not by half. Once launched, a startup requires continual attention, grooming, and tweaking. It's also essential that you take the time to organize things. The hubbub of launching a company can make it easy to leave things untidy, inefficient, and even unaddressed.
Now that your company is on the map and starting to grow, it's time to get organized. Here are a few tips, tools, and techniques to help you get your company tuned up and running like a well-oiled machine.
Tech is by far the most effective organizational tool for a modern business. It allows you to simplify tasks, avoid mundane labor, and let your employees focus on human-oriented items such as innovation and growth.
There are endless forms of tech that you can implement into a small business - and the list is growing all the time. The important thing is that you avoid treating tech as a panacea. You can't go out and find a single piece of hardware or SaaS platform that will be an organizational magic bullet.
Instead, you have to take the time to consider your needs, assess your options, and then find the specific tech tools that will help you the most. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get that process started:
Where is your business struggling to keep up at the moment? For instance, if your fledgling back office is lagging behind, look for a small business payroll solution to streamline things.
What business activities are okay at the moment but could still be improved? If your team shares a lot of documentation, they may have a system that is inefficient. Sure, emailing documents works for the moment. But you may want to shift to a document-sharing platform to keep all of your work backed up, secure, updated, and in one place.
What areas of your business are not going to scale well as you grow? If your customer service team operates over several different channels, it may be overwhelmed if the volume of messages increases. If so, look for a good customer service tool that can unify your communication channels and scale with your business.
There is no end to the number of solutions available. Take the time to identify your biggest needs beforehand so that you aren't overwhelmed with the options.
Goals are often associated with success, and they do represent a certain level of achievement. However, the true power of a goal is revealed in the business journey itself. This is especially true if you invest the time in setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals.
By setting a goal you give yourself, your team, and your company something to work toward. A goal is an effective way to aim your business at an objective or benchmark. Once set, a good goal will also help to maintain focus and momentum.
A goal is also a great way to stay accountable throughout your business growth. In effect, a goal creates a key metric that you can use to measure your level or lack of success. This can help you locate and address organizational shortcomings whenever they appear.
For instance, you might find that you've missed an important goal, such as recruiting a sales manager or reaching a certain revenue stream. If that's the case, the presence of a goal will help you identify the problem and find a solution as soon as possible. This can preserve capital and minimize wasted effort, both of which are valuable resources during the startup stage.
A team that operates in isolation can quickly become disorganized. It doesn't matter if you're 100% remote or you work in a bullpen. If you don't make an effort to consistently communicate, you can end up losing your organizational efficiency.
This is why communication must be a central element of your growing organization. If you want to keep everyone moving in the same direction and working toward the same end goal, you must stay in touch. You can do this through simple communication tools as well as more complex workflow platforms.
As your organization grows, your staff may begin to compartmentalize. Departments will form and teams will separate off into their own work worlds. And that's okay. It's a normal part of a living business organization. When this happens, though, it's critical that you invest in keeping your various team members and departments on the same page at all times.
Keeping a startup organized can often be challenging. As your organization grows, your needs and challenges will shift with it. However, if you can use technology, set goals, and maintain communication throughout the process, you can keep your enterprise organized, effective, and running like a well-oiled machine.