Everyone who starts up a new business wants to be successful, but in reality, many of these new businesses will be closed within five years. It takes a lot in today’s world to simply survive, and it takes much more to grow. If you’re new to the business world, you may feel lost in how to do either of those things. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Many other new startup owners struggle, but there are ways you can get ahead. You can start by implementing these seven tips to help your company get off the ground and keep your employees engaged.
1. Be Ready for Anything
You’re starting a new business—you need to be ready for everything the world is going to throw at you and more. Before you even open the doors of your new startup (or website if it’s an ecommerce business), do your research. Know your target customer base, your industry, your competitors, and how the overall economy is doing. Have recovery plans for as many disasters as you can possibly come up with.
But being prepared doesn’t end with you. Your employees also need to know how to prepare. Your employees should make use of supporting data and other information as the basis of their presentations, ideas, and projects. You can do your part to help employees be prepared by making sure they have access to adequate resources, keep everyone in the loop about projects, and being prepared yourself.
2. Know the Line Between Public and Private
Today’s young employees want collaborative workspaces and shared areas where they can comfortably work at their own pace. The idea of every employee being secluded in their own office is slowly being phased out. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to want to welcome this collaboration—your business will be stronger for it.
However, realize that there are some things you’re going to want to keep only to yourself and your upper level managers. While sharing information makes everyone feel involved and a part of the business, realize that some information does need to remain privileged. Make certain your employees understand this, too.
3. Thank Your Employees
People work hard at their jobs, and that is often doubly true for those working at a startup. An employee may end up coving several different duties at first until you can hire additional people, and that can be stressful. Be certain to tell your employees thank you from time to time. Make certain that they realize that you appreciate what they do for them.
Also teach them to pass that thanks and appreciation on to others who are working with your company. Make certain your customers, partners, and others all know that they are appreciated. Doing so will help build the foundations needed for strong business relationships.
4. Provide Coaching
If you bring on fairly young employees who don’t have a lot of experience, be prepared to provide them with a good amount of coaching and mentoring. Even some experienced individuals may need a good coach to help them grow and excel in their roles. Coaching employees is more than just telling them what to do. It involves helping them identify and reach their full potential.
While providing individual coaching yourself will be helpful, you can also bring in other coaches and professional mentors. Motivational speakers can help your team by discussing coaching techniques you may not be as familiar with. You may even learn a good amount from these speakers yourself. You’re never too old or too experienced to learn.
5. Make Your Expectations Clear
Do your employees know what you expect from them? Do they know the level of detail, quality, and productivity they need to provide on a regular basis? If not, how can you expect them to meet your expectations? It’s important that your employees know exactly what you want. Don’t simply assume that everyone knows how to be professional.
This is especially true if you’ve hired employees who just finished their education. While they may have done an internship or two during college, that doesn’t mean they understand what it’s like to be a full-time employee. These individuals need one-on-one mentoring, and as a part of that, you need to teach them about expectations and how to meet them.
6. Be Flexible with Your Schedule
Another thing young employees want is flexibility in their schedules. If possible, allow employees to set their own schedules within reason. You may allow employees to come in as early as six in the morning or as late as nine. Those who started earlier can leave earlier, while those who aren’t morning people can come in a bit later. As long as work gets done and you’re not behind schedule, why not allow for some flexibility?
There are a few reasons why this is important. By providing flexible hours, those with children may be able to leave in time to pick them up from school, thus saving them from paying for a sitter. Some of your employees may want to go back to school to continue their education, and having flexible hours will allow them to do so. You benefit from both of these situations because your employees will be more satisfied with their jobs, thus leading to less turnover, and they will be better educated.
7. Allow Telecommuting
In addition to flexible schedules, some employees may want to work from home. While there are some who will take advantage of this, you should consider it on a case-by-case basis. There are many new tools that make working remotely much more effective than it used to be.
While you don’t want the entire office working from home, there’s no reason why some employees can’t take advantage of this option in certain circumstances. Those who are dealing with a health crisis or are injured can often work from home more comfortably than they could in the office. New parents may also want to extend their leave and work from home for a few months.