Going from the comforts of being an employee to the risky adventures of being the employer is no easy feat. The checklist of things to do is a long one. You’ll have to search for and woo reliable talents, create and pursue worthy projects and, all at the same time, making ends meet from the comfort of your own home. However, this has not stopped countless of adventurers from trying their hand at riding the entrepreneurship bandwagon.
Image credit: Guillaume
Those who have jumped rashly and unprepared onto this entrepreneurship bandwagon will find themselves falling unglamorously on their faces or bottoms, and this is when they realise that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
The lack of experience, talent and even poor business management can very easily drain your passion and creativity. And you will soon find that you are struggling to stay afloat, grasping for the life-jacket you’ve forgotten to put on before jumping headfirst into the dangerous depths of self employment.
A successful company takes years to build, but all it takes is a small mistake and all the hard work that went into your company could be destroyed.
Here are some pointers that are crucial to those interested in starting their own company. These make up the lifejackets I’d like to hand out before you decide to jump into the sea of self employment. So strap them on before making the jump.
There are six strategies I will be sharing with you in the coming months:
- The Civil Strategy
- The Business Strategy
- The Leadership Strategy
- The Operation Strategy
- The Flexible Strategy
- The Secret Strategy
The basis of these six strategies comes from an ancient military book titled Liu Tao (六韬), also known as The Six Strategies for War, credited under the brilliant strategist Jiang Shang. These strategies are essential for administrators, leaders, and entrepreneurs alike and together, this series will help you build a good and stable foundation for your business and help you with the management of your company.
This article talks about the first of the six strategies, The Civil Strategy which focuses on the art of recruiting talent and internal management.
Episode 1: The Civil Strategy
At the planning stage before starting your own web company, you must first be clear about the objectives, goals and direction you want your company to take. Rome was not built in a day. And likewise, your company needs to be nurtured before any results will show.
Recruiting Talents as Partners
Most businesses are not a one-man-show. The probability of success is increased if you have other talented partners to help your web business grow. After all, two heads are better than one. The path to success is not without its difficulties and there will be many tough decisions to make. If you have partners to share your burden and to constantly have fresh eyes to assess the situation, you will more likely make the better choice for your company.
Image credit: iesphotography
Also, if the business is a one-man-show, besides running the risk of burning yourself out and overworking, there may not be sufficient diversity and creativity to keep generating new ideas and have effective problem-solving processes in the company. Take for examples successful companies like Google and Apple. They are constantly recruiting new talents and surround themselves with creative and talented people.
The challenge is putting together the dream team, searching for partners that can work harmoniously with you. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, especially if each cook is obstinate. If everyone wants their own way, the problem may be unresolved for too long while matters are overly debated and discussed. This is why it is important to recognise early on, in the start up stages, which individual is best suited to your own working style. Good communication is crucial!
It is also important that your partners share a common goal and direction in regards to your company. There is nothing more powerful than like-minded partners.
To determine the correct person to join your web venture, first you have to determine their aspirations. A worthy partner and a mere partner are equally busy; but because of different aspirations, their gains will also be different.
Respect Your Partners and Control Your Desire
It is not enough to have talented designers or developers working for you to ensure success. Although each individual has a specific role to play in the company, it is still a team effort to ensure that the company goes far and succeeds. If you are not able to communicate and work harmoniously with your staff and only insist on your own personal desires, you will find that success will not reach you or stay with you for long. Respect at the workplace increases the quality of work as everyone is happy and willing to work together towards a common goal.
Image credit: iesphotography
Rewards, Recognition and Penalty
We live in a world where rewards are great motivators and punishment is an effective deterrent. Giving due rewards and penalties are important in the art of leadership. How much of each to give is also a highly sensitive matter.
Too great a reward may sow discord and spread jealousy and too harsh a punishment can discourage and affect morale. When a project is well received by your client, praise and recognition will encourage your designer to work hard to continue producing good work. However, when a project goes south, it is important not to be too quick to assign blame or shrug responsibility for the failure. It is more important to figure out what can be done differently and learn from the experience as a team.
Foster Good Working Relationship
Respect is earned. Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. If you are kind and respectful to those you work with, you will gain the same from them in return. This valuable code of conduct still exists in many companies today.
Happiness is the Health of Your Company
A good working environment can increase the productivity of the company. If your staff and partners are happy, there will not only be social cohesion but also the chance to build a lasting and positive relationship ensuring your company’s longevity and success. Your company is also more likely to survive through tough times because of the support from each member of your team.
Humbleness is the Key
Humility is a virtue that can get you very far, be it in business or your own personal life. You may not always remain on top, but if you continue to learn and accept constructive criticism you will at least ensure that people who work with you enjoy doing so. However, be sure to be sincerely humble or risk being called pretentious or “fake”.
Image credit: Arendfoto
Be Willingly to Delegate Responsibility
Everyone wants to work for a company that allows growth and nurtures them. If your team members feel stifled or feel like they’ve been stagnant for too long, they might grow restless and unhappy. Train your eye to spot potential and nurture them by assigning more responsibility so they can learn and grow. This will also ensure that you do not have too much responsibility on your own shoulders and allows you to rely on your partner or staff to hold the fort or stand guard with you in times of need.
Meritocracy is the Way to Prolonged Prosperity
Be judicious about who you employ. Assign work and key positions to people who are trustworthy and capable of undertaking the role you give them. This will ensure that your company is getting the best there is and will succeed. It is important to know the strengths of your partners and your staff so that you can assign projects accordingly. Although it is good to develop friendships and a good working relationship with partners and staff, make sure that you do not practice favouritism as it will likely hinder your company’s growth.
Take Less and Give More to The Company
Starting a new company is not easy and you will need to put in extra effort to build a name for it. Invest more time and effort at the beginning and you will reap the benefits of the hard work later.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Unity is also crucial in any company. It does not bode well for a company if everyone is moving in different directions. There should be one command even if there are many commanders, and the action taken should follow the orders of that one command.
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Be Expectant of Adversity
Change is the only constant in the world. One cannot appreciate the good times without first having to experience the hard times. It is by overcoming the obstacles and problems that you encounter as a working team that you will grow stronger and beat the odds of failure. If you are prepared for the tough road ahead and face the challenges head on, you and your team can weather the storm. It is also wise to anticipate problems that you could encounter and ensure that you have contingencies so that you are not caught off guard.
Food for Thought
This is the first part of the Six Strategies series – Six Strategies: The Civil Strategy for You Own Web Company. Hope you’re looking forward to the second part of the Six Strategies series.
Did you enjoy this post? I’d like to hear your thoughts about the subject. What are the other ingredients for building a successful company? Share with us and drop a comment!