Success mantra for a thriving startup: Empower your people

My mind told me that I should share a couple of cents which might leave an


Image source: Alexander Kjerulf's post on 8 random tips for making your startup company happy and successful

impression on your life as a start-up owner ! These opinions have emerged from  experiential traits of observing, listening, watching, engaging and at times even reading during all these months..

Which success metrics have you defined for your start-up baby? Break-even the costs by next year? May be achieve next round of funding inside three months? Or even double the number of clients in six months?

You wish you could do it all yourself ! May be you could, if you were a superhero but even then 24 hours in a day were not going be enough. How do you achieve all that and much more? Wait a minute

Do not expect me  to talk about that one-in-million magical solution as it never existed. Yeah, I am not talking about out of the world rocket science here. All you need are ‘PEOPLE’ who can make-it-happen! People who have cool heads and are a bundle of energy. May be you could hire them from outside, if you’re a cash-rich start-up.

But in tough times of recession, you’re expected to cut your operating costs. You are expected not to hire people and even fire the ones who are working with you!

Coming down to ground reality, most start-ups cannot afford to loose people as it is difficult to find a single replacement for any guy who quits. Each person thinks multi-dimensionally and is engaged in cross-functional work.

So how do you make them happy? Throw more money at them? May be it will work in some-cases but for the rest?

To begin with, Never promise anything to them that you cannot deliver. For e.g. you make a promise to your senior guy that he is a key member of the strategy group but sideline him

Second– the key to make people a part of your growth is by involving them in the so called decision making process. Provide them the right opportunities at right time/stage. For e.g. If you are caught in a web of problems, feel free to consult them for help. No, it is not a help in-terms of bugfix but instead help at a mental level. That is where you will be able to judge their mindset and take a call about things which you never expected them to do.

Third, never fall into a fixed mindset trap as that is the easiest thing you can do at this stage. for e.g. a marketer can only pitch or a developer can only code. These are all mind-games that you tend to play with yourself. Because of your one-dimensional thoughts, you are sometimes unable to visualize the potential of people in your team.

Fourth – Trust your people. Trust them for their thought, for what they have done, continue to do and what they can do. Make people feel counted as a part of the group.  Listen to them, ask them what they feel/think. Never try to be their boss and impose your decisions on them.

Fifth – Drop your ego. It is a 360 degree cycle of feedback. The so called ego rules which apply to your employees are also valid for you 🙂

Remember, it takes more than a sweat to build a quality team. If you can do that success comes naturally to you and your start-up! On the flip-side it takes not more than a blink of an eye-lid to get back to the same mode of hiring replacements for the people who have left you. So what do you want do to – take one step forward or two steps backward?

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4 responses to “Success mantra for a thriving startup: Empower your people

  1. This article would be really useful to business minded people to make their businesses have a stronger foundation. Indeed, it takes more than a sweat to build a quality team.

  2. Rightly said u need to trust ur team and give them ample space to work and achieve.

  3. For up and coming business owners venturing into the marketing segment what are some good tips on demographics and psyographics and product knowledge?

  4. Pallavi

    Rightly put an organization’s success lies in the manpower- A good team leady by an able ‘boss’. Of course multifaceted personalities and thinkers are best suited for a start up enterprise because they are able to and would like to do more than just one thing.

    I happen to get an opportunity to work with one such start-up company (my first job as well). I think one gets to learn so much more than one would if joining a bigger organization where roles are very well defined. If you are lucky enough to be as young as the company then one gets to shoulder many responsibilities from learning how to send a fax to client interfacing, each is equally important, most importantly we are taught to be Independent… exposure levels are much higher. I think start-up enterprises should higher start-up employees as well various reasons that make it a win-win for both (already listed down a few points that make it a great opportunity for an employee) now for the employers, these people are fresh, have a go getter approach, have the fire of proving their worth and making a place for themselves, you can shape them the way you want them- they don’t come with any baggage, which might happen if you higher people with say 10 yrs of work experience (you can hire them gradually, as you expand) and are not looking for comfort zones to settle in. of course they are cost affective, exactly what you want at that point in time when every penny counts. Of course one must reward the employees as the company grows because an overall growth will happen only when they grow along with you!

    Make sure you take their opinion in matters related to company development- of course do what you think is right! But this will give you an insight into your colleague’s mind and also make them feel important. Bonding with employees is another key issue- a must! I don’t mean that you should interfere in their personal lives but they should know that they have an option of coming and discussing with you if they want- it helps in r/s building. Transparency is the key- small offices should mean zero chance of office politics! This is possible…

    Retaining employees is another challenge- if you are taking care of their growth but they still looking at untimely appraisals etc- don’t fall for it! Let them move on, because this might result in setting a pattern for this particular employee and others as well. Don’t be under this fear that you train them today and tomorrow they will move else where- remember you are training them keeping in mind they will prove to be assets at a later stage but if they move that is their decision. At least they should carry a good image about your company in the market… they should reflect the quality of your organization- employees move on and along with them moves the image of your organization!

    I like to call myself a growing fish in a growing pond! I believe in giving my 200% to an organization that returns it in double… this is the way you too should make your employees feel – even if he is an office help. Every brick counts in building a strong foundation.

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