In the early days of our startup, it was easy to know what everyone was doing. With only two people, communication and organization didn’t seem like major concerns. But as our startup grew, the lack of attention I put on process ended up causing huge headaches.
When you’re running your business, it is easy to just worry about external risks. It is also the easiest way to explain failure. What’s harder to do is blame your internal team. Was everyone on the same page? Were funds wasted because of miscommunication? These are the reasons why startups fail that no one wants to talk about.
Here are three ways you can avoid these mistakes from the start. Install these processes in your startup now, and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and money down the line.
1. Create mandatory daily meetings.
Every morning, you should have your team meet for a meeting. The key to making these get-togethers productive is keeping them short and on track. Try to aim for around 15 minutes. In this timeframe, have each of your teammates write down all the tasks they are going to complete for the day. Also, make them star the most important tasks.
After this is completed, have the last part of the meetings be an open forum for questions. This is the time where people can quickly ask questions to anyone on the team and add or edit any item on the whiteboard.
2. Use objectives to hold everyone accountable.
When you have what everyone is accountable for on the whiteboard, put it in a place where the whole team can see it. Once someone completes one of the tasks on her list, cross off the item. Don’t let anyone finish their day of work until all tasks are completed. This builds efficiency but also holds everyone together as a unit.
3. Use a product roadmap to identify long-term goals.
No matter where your company is, you need to all have an overarching goal that you want to achieve. It doesn’t matter what department you're in, there should always be a company mission. When we started Alumnify, it was to get to 50 school clients as fast as possible. After we reached that milestone we quickly switched to another.
When the whole company is aligned on what is most important, saying no to everything else becomes easy. It’s much simpler to organize your priorities once you know what is essential and what is not. Removing distractions and focusing on one unified mission build great companies. Misdirection and clouded judgment lead to mediocrity.