It's hard to be jealous of the stresses that come with start-up life. E-mailing at 3 a.m. Stressing over the next big account. Tip-toeing along the tightrope that is a work-life balance. These experiences are all too real for new companies working to make it big.
But in some ways, start-ups outshine their more established older siblings. The proof is abundant. Environments where ideas flow as endlessly as the coffee. Impassioned coworkers hungry for the company's next big win. Quick access to leadership to implement new ideas.
In order for large companies to be great, they need to operate in some ways like a start-up. Here are five traits of start-ups that larger companies should adopt if they want to be great.
1. Start-ups Are Agile
It's easy to approach a problem with a recycled solution because "it's always been done this way." But it's that passive and lazy approach to problem-solving that led to the demise of Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders and many other companies that didn't adapt to market trends.
While it's easy for large companies to become set in their ways, it's impossible for start-ups; they don't have ways to be set in. Instead, they evaluate problems with a fresh approach, seeking the right solution rather than recycling one from the past.
2. Start-Ups Rock at Communication
Entrepreneurs are always communicating to someone: employees, partners, investors, clients, and more. They're the center of an intricate communication web. Because they're pulled in dozens of directions every day, they rely heavily on their inner-circle, which at a start-up is often their entire team.
This authenticity from leadership creates an intimate, high-impact environment. Having the inside scoop and sharing in a company-wide vision motivates employees to move beyond good to great.
3. Start-Ups Live in a State of Discomfort
Working to prove a model, wondering where Series-A funding is coming from, and knowing failure is an all-too-real possibility keeps entrepreneurs on their toes. But that discomfort is what makes their companies great.
Start-ups are constantly pushed to prove themselves to investors and stay relevant to customers. The discomfort of walking the line of success and failure daily means innovation happens often out of necessity.
4. Start-Ups Nurture Efficient, High-Impact Teams
By nature, start-ups are lean. They operate on minimal resources to prove a model or reach profitability, which usually results in one person doing the work of three. There isn't time for menial tasks or duplication of work. Every hour counts.
The result is a highly impactful, engaged, and rewarded team that understands the business from a 360-degree perspective. The results of a rewarded team are employees who go the extra mile. And the result of the extra mile is taking work from good to great.
5. Start-Ups Take Time to Find the Right New Hires
Great entrepreneurs know when the next hire is one of ten, they can't be good; they have to be great. So building culture starts with each new hire-a process start-ups typically make more fun and engaging than a series of stuffy interviews.
Having applicants submit videos, taking them out for a beer or bringing them in for a day of shadowing gives deeper insight than "tell me about your biggest weakness." That personal approach to hiring sets the stage for powerful relationships that enable entrepreneurs to get the most out of every employee. Getting the most out of every employee? That's essential to producing not good work, but great work.
These start-up traits are central to what we do at Creatix. As a full-service design and development firm, we've grown from 3 to 13 to more than 30 employees and worked with clients like Mastercard and Kellogg's because we've stayed true to these principles. We operate like a start-up in other ways too; for example, we ensure every client feels like our only client. Find out more about how we do what we do here.