There is a lot of literature around about starting your own business and growing it. The problem young companies face is that it’s often a single man who has to do everything and it’s easy to loose your priorities. The age old adage – “All’s well that ends well” does not work here, it’s important to start well! Here is a small list of things that if you can follow:
Keep customer satisfaction above everything else
Service business runs on referralsÂ and reference checks. While, there are plenty of blog posts aroundÂ that talk about getting even with customers or firing them, I recommend you abstain from them for a whileÂ and rather choose your customers carefully and then do everything to keep them happy. Remember that you’ll need projects that you can showcase in your portfolio and people who can give you five star feedback.
Build your management team
You will not be able to grow if you have to everything yourself. You need a line of leadership within your organization that can take care of entire functions and handle tough issues. A start-up is usually starved of cash and hence do get too crazy about hiring management grads. Instead hire people who are keen to learn, have a fire in their belly and are ready to grow with you. Assign them responsibilities early-on and let them do their jobs.
Invest in Tools and Processes
It is much easy to adopt a tool and process in a 5 people company than in a 50 people company. Thus, it is important that you sit with your team andÂ employ tools in the areas on project management and establish key processes atleast in the areas like Project life cycle, AccountsÂ & InvoicingÂ and HR. There is plenty of free stuff in the market and you will realize later that your PM tool has become a goldmine of information and even a platform for information sharing.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to pick of all sort of projects regardless of price and technology. This garbage collector approach will put you in a death spiral from which you will not be able to recover from later. In the initial days it is important that you specialize in only certain type of projects. It will be easier to manage! Try looking for simmilar type of projects as the code reuse can boost your profitability as well as you can surprise the customer with a quick delivery. You must have proper management body in place before you undertake any diversification initiative.
Don’t run into renting the most plush offices that overlooks the oceanÂ and buy expensive furniture with Aeron chairs. Remember you are startup and you are not competing with IBM. Keeping your ego in check andÂ that will help you control your expenses.
I don’t remember where I read it but I must quote and say is that being successful is not about doing things exceptionally well but it’s about making lesser mistakes. Â