Entrepreneurial Culture and Ecosystem: Startup’s Greatest Asset
Dog-friendly offices, foosball tables, exercise ball chairs, comfortable couches in the meeting room and free food — these are just some of the common benefits associated with working at a startup. Ostensibly, these perks are at the heart of creating a great workplace. However, inspiring your company with a desirable culture extends far beyond these tangible benefits because the above mentioned are just the perks, it doesn’t define the culture.
Organizational culture is the collection of beliefs and behaviors that are pervasive throughout your business. Unlike a mission or vision statement, it’s not something you can define in a series of meetings on a whiteboard behind those comfortable couches in the meeting rooms.
The reason is simple: organizational culture develops and changes right along with your business.
Your culture goes beyond the physical and virtual four walls of your company to how your employees work with customers and partners and even how stakeholders and potential hires perceive you. Culture touches and influences every function in an organization, from research and development to manufacturing to sales. Get it right, and culture can transform your company’s performance and help sustain success for years to come. Get it wrong, and you’ll pay dearly for it…for years to come.
In other words, creating and nurturing a good company culture is vital to the success of every company.
So, how does a startup define its company culture when time and money are limited?
The answer lies in being proactive, collaborative and honest.
Establishing an enduring company culture begins with action. One of the greatest differences between startups and big business is that at large organizations the job requirements are generally very structured and limited to one specific focus area. Big companies are rooted in doing what is proven to work.
In contrast, startups are oftentimes doing something that has never been done before, so there are no rules. This mindset of working quickly to innovate and iterate, equates to inherently more opportunities to learn and grow. At startups, employees are encouraged to take risks and think outside the box. Although cliché, the driving force behind a startup’s success comes down to four words: ‘All Hands on Deck’.
Another important perspective as to why culture is important for the success rate is because it creates lateral communication channels, which is the most essential in any organisation. Given the indisputable interconnectedness of startups, barriers are broken between founders, investors, managers and employees.
Since everyone’s role is equally as important to building the company, startups are challenging the traditional notion of a corporate hierarchy.
This means that there is no red tape between new hires and company leaders. In fact no one has their own office. On a daily basis, recent college graduates and seasoned entrepreneurs work alongside each other to solve problems. Not only does this strengthen a sense of goodwill, but it also solidifies both trust and transparency in the workplace.
Further adding on, along with supportive entrepreneurial culture, access to finance, human capital, innovation capacity and formal support organisations, all these clubs up and form an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which is in turn a game changing resource. A sustained and thriving ecosystem is all you need to make your startup flourish.
Although startups boast about these priceless benefits, that is not to say that working at a startup is easy. Three out of every four startups fail.
But the truth is even if we consider any job we all know there are going to be good and bad days. Yet culture and ecosystem are the only tools that will help your company endure the ups and downs.
Startups often come with higher risks because they often offer higher rewards.
As rightly said by the former CEO of Google, “If you’re offered a seat on the rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”
Even when resources are scarce, it is still possible to create a legendary company culture and ecosystem that draws and retains top talent. By using a few simple tools and strategies, you can champion your company’s purpose to continually close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
So to sum up, good ideas aren’t just enough, one needs essential entrepreneurial culture and a thriving ecosystem to remain fertile for the business to grow and in order to breathe entrepreneurship and innovation in a true sense.