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One thousand, eight hundred and twenty five. That’s about how many days there are in the span of five years — and only 50 percent of small businesses will make it to celebrate that anniversary. Fortunately, our business is well over five years old, and while we learn so much every year, the past five years have taught us some of the biggest lessons in growth since we started out. From physical to mental growth, here’s a look back at five of the most lasting lessons and the effect they had on our business.
Packing up and heading to a new office location
After a lot of discussion, location scouting and planning, we made the move to a larger office space in 2016. This move was a long time coming since our old office was too small to accommodate the needs of our growing team. In retrospect, it was a great decision. Our new office is spacious and comfortable and the change of address has proved to be refreshing for everyone.
It was important to us that the next location we worked out of did not stray too far from our roots. Our company is based in Calabasas, California, which is about 40 minutes outside of Los Angeles. We knew we wanted to stay in the Calabasas community and that our new office should have an open floor plan — the same, familiar layout as our previous location. We’re happy we chose to keep what works for us! It’s easy to think that when a business grows, its surroundings should get bigger and better, too. In the long run though, it’s important to consider where your company came from and where it’s going in order to plan a move that is reflective of those factors.
Promoting awesome team members
For a startup, successful growth isn’t just about how many employees you hire. It’s also about the employees themselves. Whenever we have employees that have excelled and have noticeably gone above and beyond their required duties, we discuss promotion opportunities with them.
Career advancement is about more than a pay increase. It’s important to get on the same page with your employee about their long-term plans within the company and tailor the promotion accordingly. One employee may receive a title change to be more reflective of their line of duties within that position, while another may receive the ability to manage an intern as their department begins expanding.
Eliminate bad apples
Not every hire proves to be successful for a startup, unfortunately. Over the past five years, we have found that eliminating bad apples is truly for the best interest of everyone within the company. Before any dismissal is made, however, we talk to the employee first and have a conversation where we are able to voice concerns verbally together. This ensures that there is an understanding between both parties about the role’s expectations and company policies.
Provide good constructive criticism
Leading a small business to success, day in and day out, is no easy feat. If you’re not careful, your emotions could wind up running the show and leave a negative impact on both your team and overall brand. As a leader, you should have a strong, emotional understanding of others and focus on how you can build your team up. Provide your team with constructive criticism and ensure that your words are heard by being respectful. When you demonstrate respect and thoughtfulness toward others, the learning and opportunities you have to impart will generally be more well received and taken seriously.
How often do we find ourselves scrolling through another company’s Instagram account or hearing a competitor mentioned in the news and developing a bit of green-eyed envy that they seem to be doing so well? It’s easy for any startup to look at what their competition is doing and try to emulate that success for themselves. The best advice we can give that truly works is to be yourself. Find ways to differentiate and set yourself apart from the pack. Focus on becoming the very best at what you do and customers will take notice and flock to your business.