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How to Motivate Your Startup Team


How to Motivate Your Startup Team

Enthusiasm is fuel for startups. Yes, you can say that money also plays a big role. But for startups that are struggling with money, especially in their early phase, enthusiasm is the thing that keeps it all together.

When you’re launching a startup, the statistics are always against you. Nine out of ten startups fail. Those that succeed need to have a very specific set of characteristics. Characteristics such as a product that’s perfect for the market, fast growth, and excellent recovery abilities.

But even if your startup has these characteristics, it still might have a rocky road ahead of it. And that’s why it’s important that you, as an entrepreneur, know how to best motivate the people around you. To lift their spirits, and help them persevere.

Help Them See What You See

As an entrepreneur and startup developer, you’re the person who has the vision. You’re the person who has the conviction. You’re the person who understands why your idea is great. Launching a startup without vision, conviction, and understanding would be next to impossible.

But the people around you must share your vision, conviction, and understanding. And it’s your job to bring them aboard. If you want to have a hive full of worker bees who know what their job is but understand little else, fine. But the morale will be low. So let them know about your vision. Help them be as excited as you are.

Create a Strong Culture

One of the best things about launching a startup is that you get to make up its culture. You shouldn’t underestimate the effect your startup’s culture has on the people working with you. If you give your startup some personality, you will give your team something to get attached to. You will also give them something to identify with, and a place they’ll want to visit every day.

Here’s an example. The CEO of Infor, Charles Phillips, is a jazz-lover whose hobby is to collect music. The conference rooms in Infor’s New York base are named after the greatest jazz musicians. And the company is well known for its ability to improvise and do things in unconventional ways. Infor is to the world of enterprise software what jazz is to music. Those little details aim to reinforce what people already feel — they work at an unconventional, agile company. To those who choose to work there, that can be a point of pride.

Encourage Communication

There are plenty of tools startups can use to ensure effective communication. There’s no reason why anyone at your startup shouldn’t be able to instantaneously share information with the rest of the team. However, sharing information is not the only goal of communication. And when it comes to motivation, it might not even be the primary goal.

Giving your team the time and space to get together and communicate is crucial for good motivation. You can, for example, set up regular team meetings, where everyone will get a status update on the business. And while you’re making sure that everyone’s on the same page, you’re also letting everyone know that they count. If at all possible, you should schedule regular offsite activities. Something as simple as a lunch or a dinner outside of the workplace will do. It will send a signal to people that they are valued and give them the opportunity to express their own opinions in a casual setting.

Give Them Something They Want

How do you attract new talent to come to your startup? You offer a competitive salary, benefits, perks, and a career path. And those are some of the things you might have used to form your team. But then what? They’re there, they’re working, and you still need to figure out how to motivate them.

If you took the advice to encourage communication among your team, you’ll probably know what are the things they want and need. You don’t have to give in to every single request. But you should find a way to give them a little. Like coffee, for example. Every self-respecting startup should have free coffee on the premises. Or herbal tea, for people who don’t drink coffee. The point is that there are small things you can do that won’t break the bank but will matter to your team.

You can’t build and grow a startup through sheer will alone. But your will does count when it comes to motivating your startup team. Every single thing that you do to make your team come to work each day in good morale is an investment that pays itself off. So you better start generating some enthusiasm.