CEO of Conexiom, a sales order automation processor that recently received growth investment from a Silicon Valley private equity firm.
One of the fundamental responsibilities of a startup leader is to attract funding and investment to grow the business. Without the lifeline of capital investment, survival as a startup can be a constant uphill struggle. As a result, new businesses need to become as investment-worthy as possible and maximize the funds they receive.
Becoming an investment-worthy company must start first and foremost with your team. Rather than focusing on numbers and rapid development, a company’s primary emphasis should be on building a team that can represent, support and contribute to a strong foundation for growth and progress. Investors seek businesses that have depth, strength and that can ultimately uphold the added pressures and demands of a growing business.
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Collaborating to achieve success
There is a fine balance between collaboration and operational inefficiency in the workplace.
In order to achieve strong team morale, it is important to create a collaborative culture that encourages open communication. Establishing an environment where each employee not only understands their role, but more significantly how their role is integral for the operation of the business reinforces the principle that everyone is imperative to the company’s success.
As a business leader, it is equally important to acknowledge the value of dialogue with customers to gain insight into their needs and how the company can improve on service and product development. This insight is what ensures we remain sticky and in lockstep with client needs. Collaboration with both the team and customers establishes a strong business position where leaders and managers understand the value of insight.
As owners or heads of any business, we don’t have all the answers, but our employees might.
The team is valuable and perceptive; after all, they were hired because of this. Fostering a collaborative culture where leaders regularly connect and establish a two-way dialogue with every department not only develops innovation and teamwork, but provides a confidence boost to staff and enables them to feel safe to express themselves.
Business leaders should use their team’s expertise to aid in decision-making and brainstorming when faced with challenges. Knowing and admitting that you, as leader, don’t have all the answers is an important part of establishing effective business and team communication, a key characteristic that investors appreciate.
The value of recognition
Ultimately, recognizing that every person is an integral piece of the business puzzle will have positive implications on employee morale.
Highlighting the contributions of each staff member isn’t just rhetoric; it is critical to success.
Understanding and communicating the unique value each employee brings to the company establishes a foundation for a healthy and cooperative work environment. This in turn motivates the team to deliver at their highest capacity, not because they are thinking of their paycheque but because they are fully invested in the business.
While conflicts and challenges are inevitable in the workplace, ensuring employees know they are valued and respected encourages them to be devoted and committed to delivering at 100 per cent despite difficulties that may arise.
Thus, team members inherently become the company’s biggest supporters and ambassadors, and this motivates them to keep delivering on both good and bad days. That’s vital to building a positive and strong business reputation.
Slow and strategic wins the race
Contrary to popular belief, success doesn’t always have to be loud. A frequent downfall for startups is the rapid acceleration into the marketplace and in turn, the inability to maintain this speed of growth to meet customer and investor demands.
Success is all about stability and ensuring the business is prepared to meet the challenges that it will inevitably face.
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Establishing an investment-worthy business requires careful evaluation and the ability to stay humble. It is not only about celebrating the wins and riding the success, but also about steady strategic planning.
Every achievement is an opportunity to learn what went well and what can be replicated to realize future goals so that solutions always remain relevant. Identifying what works and what doesn’t takes time and effort from the entire team, and requires support and expertise from every level. Taking the time to establish and maintain strong business processes will inspire a high level of confidence in your startup and investors will inevitably follow.
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