When you first think about starting up your own business, you probably dream big – you want to start from nothing and grow into a huge corporation.
But the reality is you’ll probably start by yourself or with only a partner or two.
You don’t need to be much of a leader in the early days of a startup business.
You’re a small enough team that you can discuss what you need to do together, and then use the skills you already have to do whatever’s necessary.
But then whatever you’re doing starts to work, business picks up, and your startup company starts to grow.
Now there’s too much work to do alone or with a partner, so it’s time to start hiring employees.
It’s not good enough to keep on doing the same things.
The bigger your team grows, the harder it’ll be to decide how the business is run by debating things.
It’s time for you to start being a leader.
Here are eight tips for being a good leader and getting the most out of your startup team:
Care about your staff
Employees who like working for you are more likely to stick around for a while, meaning all the time and effort you put into training them won’t walk out the door for better horizons.
Learn from your mistakes
Management skills are just like any other skills – they’re something that can be improved.
Everybody makes mistakes, so don’t be embarrassed when you make them.
Learn from them so you don’t repeat them.
Learn from other people’s mistakes
If you’ve ever been an employee before, you’d have had bosses both good and bad.
Try to remember all of their mistakes, especially ones made by the bad bosses.
Think about why the mistakes happened, and what you could do differently.
You can become a better manager
If management is a skill, then it can be learned and improved upon, whether or not you’re a natural leader.
If you think your management skills could be improved, take an active approach to learning.
You could, for example, read a book on becoming a better manager. Just search for management books on Amazon and you’ll see there are tonnes of books on the subject.
Your staff are assets and people
Your employees are there to make your startup business make money, grow, and become a success.
That means you shouldn’t take them from granted, but treat them with the respect they deserve.
You might be their boss, but you shouldn’t be a dictator.
Always listen to what they say carefully – if you did a good job in the hiring process, they should be smart and able to come up with some useful ideas.
Praise your employees when they deserve it
A startup business with happy employees is more likely to succeed than one where they hate working.
One of the easiest ways to make them happy is to let them know that the work they’re doing is worth all the effort.
When they do particularly well, let them know how much you appreciate them.
Set realistic targets for your employees
Set realistic targets based on where you want your startup business to be by a certain time, and how each of your employees are going to contribute to the goal.
Praise them when they meet their individual targets, but give them all the help they need when you think they’re about to fall short.
Set targets for yourself
It won’t be fair to make your employees aim for targets and not give them to yourself too.
Look at where you want your startup business to be after a certain amount of time, and work out what you’re going to do to get there.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.