Just because your team might be small doesn't mean that they are clear on the goals and revenue targets for your startup. A big mistake I see founders make is not treating sub-contractors like internal team members. Even if you only have one or two employees (or non at all) it is still beneficial to function like a larger organization. This will help everyone to be more organized and efficient in their work and eliminate the need for constant communication/ hand holding to get things done.
Here are 5 Ways to Align your Team
Start with a Goals Planning session... as a team. Even if you are not clear on the goals for your business in the upcoming quarter, I recommend setting aside time to communicate your vision and get ideas and input from everyone you work with. Even virtual assistants and bookkeepers! Oftentimes, we deliver goals and tasks to others without their "buy-in." Amazing ideas could come from unlikely sources. And chances are, if they are working with your Startup, they have some creativity inside them as well. Welcome different perspectives and get your team excited about your vision and what you are all going to accomplish during the quarter. And remember, all tasks and projects should be connected to the bigger priorities of the organization. Communicate your top-line vision and make your business goals and revenue goals clear for everyone.
Everyone needs a KPI. Again, no matter if it's your Executive Assistant or Social Media Manager, everyone feels better when they know what they are aiming for. All activities that happen within a team should be for a purpose. Assigning KPIs or (key performance indicators) are an excellent way for a team member to understand if the work they are doing is effective or not. An important note, if you're just starting out and don't have much historical data-- then set your targets based on your best guess. Or better yet, set the target with that team member together. Targets that they feel they can achieve. And don't stress if the target isn't reached. Setting targets isn't meant to be a reason to get angry or be disappointed with someone, it is merely a jumping-off point and a way to learn and grow. If targets aren't met (or too easily met) then it is a signal that the target must be adjusted or the tactic changed. Encourage discourse around the topic of targets and explain to your team their core focus within the organization. Work hand-in-hand with your team to learn and grow. That is the exciting thing about being a part of a startup and working with an amazing founder, like you!
Don't Work in Silos. Create the space for collaboration. It's useful to have regular check-ins on goal status and offer a venue for discussions. I prefer to check in with my teams on a weekly basis. Monday's are great days for team meetings. The purpose of the meeting should be to review key metrics, share an overview of individual goal status, and leave some time for open discussion. Actually, the discussion portion of the meeting is the most important. It should be a time to work through roadblocks, share creative ideas, and support each other. This applies to a team of 2 or a team of 50.
Celebrate Each Other. Showing appreciating and offering public praise goes a long way in a Startup. You can use time during a weekly meeting or simply create a #wins slack channel where you can build up your team and let them know how appreciated they are. This keeps your team feeling happy, inspired, and excited to do their best work.
Use a Project Management Tool. But actually use it. Chances are you are speaking to your team on a regular basis. So the need for a project management tool feels small. It might even feel like an extra step. However, developing (and following) systems when teams are small is a wonderful way to lay the foundation for growth and avoid burnout from your team. Systems and processes help protect the time of your team and keep them feeling clear and taken care of by your organization. When tasks are properly planned and managed, the instanced of "on fire" tasks reduces dramatically. Now, that is something we can all be happy about.
The great Zig Ziggler once said, “You don’t build a business – you build people – and then people build your business.” This is an undeniable fact. A great company cannot be built on the back of one individual. It takes a team to make it work. I would urge you to take alignment and team building very seriously from the beginning. You could be fostering the individuals that will see your company to unimaginable heights.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.