3 Things Lean Startups Can Learn From Corporate Giants

December 23, 2013

3:00 pm

Of course, there are plenty of positives in leaving a large corporation and joining or founding a smaller startup. The culture within smaller companies is often more relaxed, which can lead to a much more favorable working environment. In addition, if you are responsible for founding the company yourself, you will have the opportunity to create something in any manner that you desire.

At the same time, however, there are some things that small businesses can learn from multinational corporations, which can make the small business run much more smoothly. These multinationals did not become successful without having some good ideas, so it is wise to use some of their techniques when creating a new company.

Create a Balance

Perhaps the main issue with joining or founding a startup is the amount of work that goes into establishing it. Those who get involved with startups often spend every waking hour on the project, which leaves a lack of balance in the person’s life. This could leave you longing for the days where you could leave your work at the office.

Although large corporations do force people to work hard, they also provide a clear line between home life and work life. When you leave the office, you are automatically away from work and, therefore, can take a break on most evenings. With a startup, however, this line is not as clear, as you will have much more of a personal investment in ensuring that the company survives. This can lead to 70- or even 80-hour work weeks, which can quickly burn you out.

Startups can, however, improve employee morale by enforcing rules on how many hours workers can log each week. This can prevent the employees from burning out, which makes them much more effective when they are at the office. While this could slow down the company’s short-term success, it will create a much more sustainable model by keeping workers happy.

Review All Employees

Providing employee feedback allows startups to encourage their employees to improve. All large companies conduct these employee reviews regularly and replace workers who are unable to provide work that is up to a certain standard. Just because you are running a small business does not mean that you should allow employees to provide substandard work and continue to earn a paycheck.

Employees should be reviewed once every three months, especially in a startup. The reviews that corporations conduct often outline each employee’s strengths and weaknesses. This is done in an honest and thorough manner, which gives workers the chance to work on these weaknesses and continue performing to their strengths.

Have a Plan

Many startups believe that staying small allows them to change directions quickly if things do not work out the way that they had hoped. While this might be true, it does not mean that you should not have a clear plan of where you are headed and how you plan on getting there. Failing to come up with a clear business plan before you begin can easily get you lost, making it very difficult to achieve anything.

All large corporations have a clear long-term strategy for reaching their goals, and startups should replicate this idea as much as possible. Operating as a reactive business causes more problems than it solves because you could end up heading in multiple directions at once without a clear path in mind. Even worse, you could give up on ideas before they ever have the chance to mature.

Having goals and timelines can actually relieve much of the pressure on your business since things will become less chaotic. While your small business will still have the flexibility to change course if desired, having a plan ensures that every action has the end goal in mind.

Since startups typically have fewer employees, your plan will remain easier to adjust if things do not go accordingly. At the same time, at least you will have an idea of where you went wrong, so that you do not make similar planning mistakes in the future.

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Savannah Marie is a writer and business marketing enthusiast. She writes about tips and tricks in the world of business, online marketing, social media and start-ups. She is the editor of her blog, Mixios, which features content on business, social media, and everything in between.

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