If you’ve ever watched the startup world with a sense of wonder and a bit of envy, you’re not alone. Innovative companies that are backed by venture capital and staffed with today’s top talent have risen to the top of their industries, making headlines and developing exciting new products and services. Whether or not they lead to a record-breaking IPO, startups often streamline and innovate their way to higher levels of productivity. As a busy business owner, it’s possible to take a lesson from their book and develop creative thinking to increase the velocity of your operations.
One of the characteristics of many startups is that they’re technology-forward.
Focus on Top Talent
Hiring talent is a significant focus for startups. If you’re small and agile, it’s important to have the right talent onboard to solve problems. Often, startups are operating with small teams and need employees with the top insights, motivation and productivity. They also often rely on individuals to fulfill multiple roles. For small businesses, high-growth startups provide a model to use to evaluate your hiring and make sure you’ve got the best talent you can afford.
Questions to ask about your hiring practices include:
Invest Strategically in Productivity to Eliminate Administrative Work
One of the characteristics of many startups is that they’re technology-forward. Since they’re operating on lean budgets, with even leaner teams, it’s important to determine where investing in technology can provide an advantage. For example, using an applicant tracking system can reduce or eliminate the administrative work required by your recruiting department. Similarly, a customer relationship management tool can help ensure you’re delivering an excellent customer experience by sharing relevant details with your customer service, operations and sales teams.
High-growth startups ask five critical questions when choosing technology that helps ensure they capture a high ROI:
Use Collaboration Software to Speed up Core Processes
The most successful startups look for every way possible to leverage their teams and help them work together more effectively as a unit. Collaboration software is a critical class of technology that high-growth startups aren’t skimping on. In today’s busy landscape, your team can be working from anywhere – whether you leverage freelancers, have multiple offices, outsource your work or simply have to get projects done while at home or on the road. With collaboration software, teams are able to work together on key projects in real time or to provide up-to-the-minute visibility into client projects.
Some questions to consider include:
Make Data-Driven Decisions
Top leaders in the startup space are often using data in ways their competitors are not. Whether it’s operational data on how to make their own performance more effective by eliminating friction and roadblocks, or customer data to more efficiently serve the market, big data can help small businesses get more accomplished. In order to maximize the use of your data, start by defining the problems you want to solve. For example, if your goal is to align your business more strategically with market needs, investing in your sales and customer data infrastructure can help.
Data can help you identify which market forces are impacting your business decisions and if key investments are likely to yield the long-term results needed for your business’ growth.
Creating a successful data strategy includes:
Agility is essential in fostering high growth. When a successful startup tries something and fails, they pivot and continue experimenting until they find what works for them. For example, if a startup tries to implement a new project management system and it doesn’t work for their team’s needs, they’ll re-evaluate and change systems. Similarly, if they launch a new service that doesn’t take off, the team is already at the table ideating new ways to serve their market. As a small business, it’s possible to create that agility by both thinking strategically and investing in the right tools. Some questions to consider include:
While the day-to-day realities between a small business and high-growth tech startup may feel quite different, there are many ways you can capture key insights that have impacted the success of many startups. From investing in talent to optimizing your technology investments, thinking like a high-growth startup can kick your own trajectory into high gear.