How great would it be if every employee at every company skateboarded to meetings and used hooded sweatshirts instead of obscene amounts of coffee in order to disguise hangovers?
Apparently not good at all, despite the alluring nature of stereotypical startup culture, according to Phil Libin, founder of Evernote, and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. When Libin was worried about how to preserve his company's startup culture during a meteoric rise, Costolo gave him some simple advice – don't.
"You can't preserve the culture, if you try to preserve it then you're locking it into place, it starts to stagnate," Libin recalled of Costolo's advice, according to Walter Chen, founder of the blog iDoneThis.
For a company growing up, the start-up culture can be dangerous. The failure to evolve and adapt to a growing scale of operations can spell disaster for a maturing company, Chen wrote. As time goes on, it is important for leaders to understand that it is okay, and even encouraged, for the culture of their small business to change.
In order to keep culture moving, and not allow companies' environments to become a burdensome, leaders have to remember a number of things. Entrepreneur has put together a list of five ways a new business can outgrow its early cultural habits and ensure consistent growth.
1. Begin delegating work
As your company grows, you will most likely cease to be one of three or four and begin hiring. As your number of employees begins to swell, you will have the opportunity to begin delegating more work, Entrepreneur explained. While some say that people cost money, it is even more costly for a company to have no means of production. Splitting up work amongst members of a growing staff will also allow you to focus on that developing culture.
2. Get the attention of your industry and consumers
Getting known is a difficult prospect, the publication noted. However, growing past hoodie culture means grabbing the attention of potential revenue sources. And don't be afraid of being criticized for your attention grabbing moves, since this is how you will eventually gain respect.
3. Focus your efforts
Changing a business' culture and ultimately growing the company is very much about picking the right battles, according Entrepreneur. There are decisions you will be presented with that don't merit too much of your time, so don't give them more than they need. Stereotypical startup culture may be fun, but the important decisions should be focused on expanding the customer base and making money.
4. Design a powerful pitch
How you pitch your company is directly tied to how it will be perceived and the business it will gain over time. For example, Entrepreneur noted that "I own a small web design company" isn't good enough when you could be saying "I own a web design company like none other that guarantees your company increased sales." Soon it will no longer be enough to consider your company a startup, soon you'll have to start thinking of it as a game-changing business. Find the best words possible to convince consumers to purchase a product, open an account or take advantage of whatever service you provide.
5. Move with urgency
Set timelines for achievements, don't be afraid to put a little pressure on employees, the news outlet explained. Sure the startup culture has a reputation for being relaxed, but overtime urgency will be key in order to make deadlines, impress others and fuel growth. Develop a financial plan and business strategy to keep your company moving forward quickly.
Don't allow yourself to sound like what Chen calls a "Peter Pan," stuck in one place without a maturing company. A company that lasts isn't one that stays grounded in the "Peter Pan" mentality, it is one that moves forward.
Remaining in startup mode is no way to grow, and becoming a business that bigger companies grow concerned about will take some important decisions. As Grant Cardone wrote for Entrepreneur, "It used to be the big who ate the small. Today, it is the fast who eat the slow."