When it comes to trying to take it to the next level, smaller companies and startups often turn to the success stories and failures of bigger brands as a template for their own success. While smaller B2Bs can, no doubt, learn a thing or two from the big dogs, they can also learn from their fellow small businesses.
Below are three things new brands can learn from successful startups and small businesses.
The Focus Is on Employees
As your brand continues to scale and grow, smaller companies can forget that their employees are in big part a key to their success so far. Too often the main focus turns to getting results and satisfying stakeholder expectations. When that happens, employee satisfaction tanks and company culture suffers. This can also happen when your business is solidifying its structure. When starting up, most organizations depend on people in pivotal roles within the company, but as business ramps up, organizational hierarchies develop. Part of structuring a business involves policies and procedures to ensure things go out the door as they should and to put order to the chaos that arises. At that point, many small businesses begin focusing on enforcing those policies and procedures and not being as flexible about employee input as they were at the start. Do as successful small businesses do–remember that one of the most important investments you can make is in your employees.
As a startup or small business, you take risks as a necessity in order to take your brand to the next level. As your business grows, however, there is a lot more at stake, which can make your organization more risk-averse than you were in the beginning.
As your business graduates from a smaller brand to a larger company, it’s easier to grow stagnant. Processes and procedures are set up and everyone begins just following the organization’s rules, often even forgetting to work on their business while growing it. Part of helping your business evolve means taking risks.
In order to do this, you need to continue testing all of your business processes and procedures and optimize what is working while removing or changing what isn’t. Even if your current operations have worked up to now, it doesn’t mean they’ll continue to work in the future. By continuing to test new processes, procedures, and technologies, you’ll ensure your company is always staying on game and is continuing to make your products and services better.
As your company grows and expands, pockets get deeper, and the temptation to begin spending without thought on frivolous things seems to occur. When you start having larger amounts of money at your disposal the excess of cash can affect your business negatively.
Instead, focus on thinking financially as a startup would. Whether it’s hiring top talent, investing in new equipment, or rewarding your team with a retreat as appreciation, work on spending money as efficiently as possible and make sure your spending habits reflect your business goals. Ensure that all purchases make sense for your company and resist the urge to spend funds just because it’s in the budget to do so.
Finally, Think Small
In the end, as your big brand grows and establishes itself in the marketplace, it’s wise to take a step back to audit your processes and procedures. Look at your brand through the lens of a startup or small business. Ensure that you remain aligned with your original goals and company culture, and make sure your priorities continue to be in the right place.