Every start-up has its own unique journey, learning new lessons at every turn. Paul Turton, MD of Pact Coffee, explains how to be agile enough to maximise success.
There are many different strategies available to a start-up to change path, including making a bold step to pivot and changing market direction. Very often, to execute this, a change of leadership and transformation of focus is the most appropriate and effective course of action.
The thriving nature of start-ups make them an incredibly exciting environment to be in, but taking into account these tips will make sure that you are well prepared for anything that may get thrown at you.
Acknowledge what has been causing pain
The first step to turning around your business is to understand specifically what is negatively affecting performance in your business. Sit down with your team and board members and acknowledge the specific challenges you’ve noticed, do some research into what could be behind them and the possibility of similar challenges that could continue or crop up again the future. Don’t plough on trying to grow your brand without refreshing your strategy; the sooner you recognise and isolate these issues will ensure that it’s nipped in the bud.
Rediscover your values
When your company is transforming, it’s important to never lose sight of your values. These values are essential to building your business to where it is today and your unique selling point.
Take a step back and figure out what’s great about your brand and your team, harness that energy and empower others to build on it. If you just take the time to look around you for a minute, you can see what’s great. At Pact, the team is full of energy and ideas, a high degree of decency, compassion and most importantly, people who want to make a difference. This is something money can’t buy, so make sure to identify these key values within your team and use this energy to maintain motivation; if you have your staff behind you, you’re halfway there.
Build in controls, structures and disciplines below the surface
Harnessing that energy and culture is simply about gently applying a little more focus upon execution and control. Importantly, it’s about making decisions about what not to do. Sometimes less is more and all start-ups can be guilty of trying to do too much. For example, many companies focus on expanding the company before it’s ready rather than securing the internal structures. In any start-up, your activities need to be about ‘test and learn’ – at Pact Coffee, we now spend more time in the ‘learn’ phase to make sure we keep making better decisions.
Build in some controls, disciplines and structures which sit beneath the surface, not front and centre that could potentially demotivate staff. Set realistic expectations to ensure confidence exists in regard to performance and job security.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
It’s important to set realistic expectations to guarantee business growth. It’s even more essential to ensure you communicate these expectations consistently to the whole team. Making sure that everyone is singing the same song every day automatically generates a strong team bond as everyone is working towards the same goal. When you’re going through a transformation, it’s easy for rapid change to create chaos and confusion – this can be easily combated with regular and strong communication from the top, best delivered in an ‘all hands’ environment. In addition, create thought provoking and open conversations with the whole team, brainstorm ideas and consider their input: this is a group mission, and everyone will remain motivated to succeed if they’re included in the conversations.
Starting a company is an incredibly exciting time, filled with passion, innovation and changes at every turn; one thing that is for sure is that you can never predict what is around the corner. Be open to changes that may transform your business for the better and open your eyes to new opportunities. If you communicate, stick to your values and build in controls below the surface, your company will get back on the right path and remain as strong as ever.
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