Congrats! You just secured your next round of funding—now the real work begins. Cheques signed, it’s time for you to push your company forward. You need more than just a vision for your business or brand—success comes from building and empowering a team who can turn that vision into a reality. Here are three key ways to nurture your employees and, ultimately, your company as it continues to evolve.
Give ’em some love (and incentive)
Your company wouldn’t be where it is today if it weren’t backed by a team of hardworking people. Showing your appreciation will improve employee engagement, which trickles down to impact every single part of your business, including corporate culture, customer service, creativity and productivity.
There are different ways to show your appreciation—raises, retreats, bonuses—but employees also want to know that they’re an indispensable member of your team. And there’s no better way to do that than by promoting them to higher-level positions. Being able to demonstrate that you’ve promoted existing employees helps in your future recruitment efforts, too. It’s this sort of positive culture (and room for growth) that will attract top talent, and in turn, please investors.
Show ’em who’s boss (it’s not just you)
Whether you call it entrepreneurialism or ownership, companies benefit when employees are as invested in its success as you are. If everyone at a company starts to think like a boss, innovation will follow. Empower your team members to speak up, even if the topic is outside their department—perhaps by hosting a quarterly offsite meeting. By checking your ego at the door and acknowledging individual pain points and solutions, the entire organization can benefit.
The more information you have (from mid-level employees, managers and investors), the more capable you are of making intentional decisions. But remember: you’re also responsible for keeping the company on brand and on mission—communicate and brainstorm with the team, and then take what you’ve learned to lead everyone towards the same goals. Need another strategy? Take a vacation. Some leaders believe their absence gives team members an opportunity to step up, which benefits the growth of the organization as a whole.
Push ’em to the brink (of innovation)
Newly founded (or funded!) companies are inherently agile. There’s no decades-long legacy restricting the company’s movement. Take advantage! Companies that can quickly evaluate and adjust strategies (ideally by utilizing intel from across the organization) have a major advantage over competitors. Deliberating for long periods, even with good intentions, wastes everyone’s time—and likely creates a roadblock for other team members, minimizing their productivity. As long as you’re confident in your ability to retain customers, taking calculated risks to expand the business will increase productivity—it has to come from the top.
As a leader, it’s easy to start new projects, open new positions and try new tactics. The tough part is knowing when it’s time to stop. Just because tactics worked to get you to this point doesn’t mean they’re the right choice going forward. There are probably plenty of “make work” projects that are actually slowing down your company’s progress. Subtracting those items from everyone’s workload is necessary to free up time and energy for more important things.
You’ve got the funding, and you’ve got the leadership tactics:
- Appreciate your team and make sure they know it.
- Empower your employees to call the shots.
- Practice agility to stay ahead of the corporate game.
Lead with your vision, and the rest will follow.