by Shachar Shamir, COO of Ranky
Managing a startup is kind of like riding a roller coaster. Sure, it might start slow, but once you get over that first hill and start picking up speed, it can seem like you’re speeding out of control!
Of course, managing a startup and riding a roller coaster are two different things. There’s a lot more at stake than losing your pocket change, after all. Believe it or not, though, there are ways to manage a fast-growing startup.
Here are five great strategies for putting on the brakes — or at least making sure you’re strapped in.
1. Delegate When You Can, but Do So Responsibly.
If you’re at the helm of a startup, it’s only natural to feel like you’re the one who makes all the decisions. For the most part, this is probably accurate; in the early days, when it’s just you and a handful of colleagues, you can spend time on every business decision there is to make.
Yet when your startup picks up speed and starts really growing, you’re not going to be able to have oversight of every little business decision. There will simply be too many things you have to do in a given day to be bogged down by minutiae. This means you’ll have to delegate some of that decision-making responsibility, but be careful: you need to pick managers that you know to have good, sound judgment. That way, you can trust their decisions and not lose any sleep over it.
2. Keep Your Customers in Mind.
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, your customers are your lifeblood. You owe all that growth you’re experiencing to their adoption of your products, so make sure you don’t forget the contribution they’re making to your bottom line. In other words, keep them in mind while you continue to innovate new products and iterate on old ones.
A wise approach is to institute a formal method for interacting with your customer base. Online forums, communities and social medias are usually the most common methods, but companies can also rely on a wide range of tools meant to enable a better communications with customers. Welcome feedback and criticism, and make sure there are avenues in place in the form of adequate customer support functionalities. The customer might not always be right, but they likely have insights that you might not have even thought of.
3. Use a Project Management System.
If you’re facing rampant growth, you’re going to need high levels of organization in order to combat bloat. The best method for accomplishing this is to use a project management system to keep lines of communication open between your burgeoning teams.
Monday.com has developed a management software that is ideal for startups in that regard. It’s got a proven track record in helping manage fast-growing businesses, as it’s helped website creation company Wix grow from a startup of 20 workers to a massive 1,000-employee business. Digital service marketplace Fiverr also leveraged Monday’s management software to provide heightened transparency even as it grew from a company that took up just a single floor in an office building to all six floors.
4. Manage Your Costs Closely.
It’s enticing, almost intoxicating, to experience explosive startup growth. Watching demand spike along with your revenues can lead to major temptations to expand your startup, but don’t jump just yet. Remember, after all, that rampant growth isn’t necessarily sustainable growth.
Think long and hard before you hire a dozen new teams and move to that luxury co-working space across town. A sudden boom might mean your startup is firing on all cylinders today, but if the winds of fortune start blowing the other way you could be laying off all those new team members you just hired before you know it. Managing your costs closely today could save you some serious headaches in the future, that’s why every business, regardless of their size, should rely on a budgeting tool. QuickBooks, for example, is a popular accounting and budgeting tool for businesses. It provides many features from expense tracking to invoicing, so that companies can get a complete overview of their budgets and forecasts.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Advice.
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Even if this is your 10th successful startup in a row, you shouldn’t just go blindly into the night. Rely on expert advice from qualified mentors in your field or industry to make sure you’re getting the best information you can.
Behind every great titan of industry, there’s a formidable mentor standing beside them. Warren Buffet wouldn’t be where he is today without the mentorship of Benjamin Graham. Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, heavily benefited from Steve Jobs’ mentorship as well. If you’re looking for your own mentor, a good place to start online is the free-to-use micromentor.com, as it specializes in matching business mentors with those in need of advice.
The Bottom Line.
There are countless effective ways to ensure your startup continues to grow, but these five strategies are some of the most effective ones for managing a fast-growing startup. You will, of course, need to continue to innovate and strive to remain agile and responsive to market conditions and consumer demands alike for continued success. However, these strategies are an excellent place to begin for any startup — including yours.
Shachar Shamir is COO of Ranky, a marketing company based in Tel Aviv. As Ranky’s COO, Shachar helps startups around the world with their marketing and online growth needs. So far, he has helped more than 200 startups with hands-on solutions. Other than that, he offers startups consulting and mentoring solutions, on how to increment their presence online and gain more clients. As Ranky’s founder, he’s involved in all the company’s main activities – business development, sales, marketing, recruiting, office administration, company goals, payments.