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4 Things Startups Need to Improve

I have been mentoring startup founders for some time and many discussions focus on what to do differently and to improve, what's critical to build a successful company? Here's what I share with them. It's not rocket science but it's good to reflect on these points and step away for a moment from all the intense tasks ("parallel processing") a founder is working on.



Areas every startup needs to review and improve asap:


1) Speed  


- Speed is the most important thing in a startup, so break up the silos and enable and foster collaboration. Revenue growth is a team sport.


- Scale knowledge and best practices fast in the team. There's no better way to build team spirit than to learn and win together.


- Review the sales process - can you make it easier/remove unnecessary steps or time? It should be ridiculously easy to buy from you.


Example: when a lead is coming in from the website, how long does it take your team to reply? Check and improve. Speed is everything.


2) Top talent


- Do you have the right person on the right seat? If you're unsure, ask someone that knows.


- Treat your top performers like they deserve. So many lose sight of this when things get stressful. A-players know their worth, don’t risk loosing them due to neglect. Why? I can just hire someone new. No, top talent doesn’t grow on trees. Mediocre does though.     


- Keep your team LEAN. Bring in freelancers for specific tasks/projects.


- If you're an early stage startup, skip the Salesforce/Google hire. Hire for the right phase of your startup. You will save yourself and the candidate time and headache.


- Please don't oversell the role. Be honest and attract the right people instead. There's a big difference in selling the vision and exaggerating the status of the company.


3) Sales


- Are you measuring the output you want to see? Many startups don’t. Unsure what you should measure? Ask for help.


- Go to your network and ask them for warm introductions.


- Make sure to end each customer call with an ask for a referral. Don't forget to do the same for them.


- When a new sales rep starts are you setting them up for success? So many startups would benefit from having a light onboarding in place. You will get ROI faster if you do. Giving someone a laptop and wishing them good luck is very contra productive, yet this is so common.


4) Marketing


- If you haven’t already you need to make creative a part of your company DNA and become a content power house. Start building community around your brand. Put a human VOICE behind your brand. Leave the one way communication behind.


- Experiment with content. Loads of it. Check what’s out there and reverse engineer it to fit your business. Every startup should see themselves as a media company. Your job is to find ways to grab attention, build audience, engage and speak with that audience.


- Dare to have fun on social media. Get all your C-levels to actively start sharing content on social media. Find a kick-ass copywriter that can nail storytelling for you. Not what you think is kick-ass, what the AUDIENCE think is kick-ass.


Innovate, try new things, experiment.


PS. Don't forget to thank your team. The team you build is the company you build.


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