Most Startups are being led by someone who has a complete passion for a product that they have created. Competition is high now for funding now in the tech field. There is less money available because of the recent recession. As a Tech Startup, you need to be smart, robust and business savvy.
Here are the top five mistakes that I have seen Startup and small business Entrepreneurs make and helped to coach them through these to success.
Communication may mean the way you speak to somebody, the words you say. It can be how you send a message out to your team. It can mean how you get the message out to your suppliers. It can be how you speak to your clients. It can be how you get a message out to investors. There are multiple levels of communication that require attention. Written, verbal and non verbal. You can grow a business on your own but if your communication isn’t top level it will certainly start to fail. Ask yourself, can people really hear what you are saying and understand your meaning? Are you getting the right message out? What you intend to say and what people hear can be two very different things. If you’re seeing a breakdown in your team structure, this could be because of communication issues. Stop, take a step back and work out how you can do or say things differently for a better result.
Not Being Able to Delegate
Okay, so this is your baby, you’ve been building this from the very start. There are certain aspects you just don’t trust people to do. Or there are some parts of this job that you just love doing and you don’t want to pass over to somebody else. Start thinking like a Business Leader Where are you best situated for top results? What is going to be best for the business? Having the ability to delegate out to the right person is essential. This frees you up with time to do the essential senior level work and to grow your company.
Swapping The Tech Hat For The Commercial Hat
A real Startup Leader with ability to grow has two hats. Firstly the tech hat that they started with. This is where they had a project that they loved and this became a business. Now it’s growing. Now you need to put your commercial hat on. There are two skills every great Business Leader has. Their ability to look at detail. But then also their ability to pull back and be able to see the big picture from a technical perspective but also a commercial business point of view. Are you getting bogged down in the detail? Is there too much hands-on work to do? Then maybe you need to delegate a little more and spend a little bit more time looking at what your business needs commercially. This is one of the most important leadership characteristics you need when developing your business.
Recognising The Boundaries Between Friends And Colleagues.
Yes you like the way the business has grown organically. With a group of people who think together, have similar vision, and shared ideas. You want to be everybody’s friend. From the start you’ve had good friends on board, definitely loyal and they’ve helped you. Now those good friends may not be the best people for your business to grow. Maybe there may be other people who can help you scale up more quickly. What is your choice? You want to keep your friends on board and you want to ensure that you maintain your long-standing relationships. However there are two parts to this. Creating the best structure for your business and creating the best structure for your personal life. Ensuring that you all know and set boundaries is extremely important. And can save issues with legal wrangles later. Set specific boundaries, contracts and agreements, even for friends and family. Ensure that communication is high between you all. Do this from the start and there won’t be any surprises as you move further down the line as the business grows.
Taking Time Out
Downtime is an area that people starting a business have an issue with. It’s important to reconnect with the people around you. Ensure that you take time away from the business. This is with your colleagues as well. Taking that time for them to realise that you’re human is essential. It’s also okay to show some vulnerability. It’s been shown that the greatest leaders in the world were not afraid to show that they were occasionally flawed. Take a bit of time to work out how to connect with your friends, family and colleagues in and out of work context.
Caroline Langston is a Leadership and Development Executive Coach specialising in working with C level and Senior Leadership within Tech Startups and other companies going through growth. Coming from an Executive Commercial background helps her to understand and overcome the challenges you may be facing. Connect at caroline@successCL.com for further information.