As a startup secures more money in its series funding rounds and grows in size and expands from its local domestic market to international shores, it may be the case that the startup also gradually adopts a work culture that is more akin to a corporate one along the way. People in the startup when it was still just a small team of founders and an ingenious idea may start to feel that, while the growth of the startup is great overall, they are gradually missing the family-friendly environment and close-knit, warm structure of the organization before things got big. Sure, there are other things like the fast-paced and hectic crunch periods and lower salaries that they don’t mind missing, but overall there is a general perception that the startup is losing its soul as it gradually evolves into a big company.
How does a startup keep and maintain its character and culture even as the company grows and expands? This is an important question for many startups because they want to retain the people, often the creative and hardworking ones that laid the foundation for the startup to thrive, even as its internal culture and structure changes overtime as it expands.
One of the first things always is for the startup to be transparent and honest in whatever it does throughout its progress. Successes and achievements are generally almost always shared among every member to foster camaraderie and trust to strengthen team bonds, but it is just as important for the startup to also beopen about its shortcomingsas well, not just hide them or brush them aside.
A startup’s journey towards realising its visions and goals is not easy, and it may encounter many challenges and tribulations along the way, some of which may result in failure. Being open and transparent about both success and failure builds character and resolve for the startup’s members and strengthens their commitment because each and every member feels that they are shouldering part of the responsibility for the startup’s growth and making the company into what it is today, and what it will be in the future. This commitment in turn drives them to think and perform better for the startup.
When startups are just an idea waiting to be nurtured into reality, its members are constantly keeping themselves informed and up-to-date on the latest developments and news as they work to lay and establish the foundation. The markets can be brutal and constant changes and adjustments are necessary to keep apace with the developments, but at the same time the constant learning and adaptations keeps things fresh and interesting. That’s why active startups have members that are constantly attending conferences and seminars whereby they can learn new skills or improve on existing ones.
As a startup grows in size and stature, its culture may become stale as existing ways of working and behavior become ever more entrenched. To keep things fresh and exciting, a startup should offer training courses and workshops, both offline and online, to its members for self-improvement and for keeping abreast of the latest changes and innovations happening in their field. This way the members will feel that their work and contributions are valued by the company and that they are growing both personally and career-wise alongside the company as well.
A startup’s culture and structure will evolve overtime. Team members that make the effort in maintaining the integrity and character of the startup even as it grows and expands may feel as if they have never left the family environment and close-knit bonds that characterised the startup early on behind. They are thus still able to keep alight the spark of creativity and passion that drives them to work so hard for the startup in the first place, and they will continue to grow alongside the startup as it evolves and expands as well.