Longevity in the business world is its own Holy Grail. Episodic success means less than sustained and incremental growth patterns across your business’ lifespan. Channeling this sustainable growth and incorporating it into the working mechanisms of your startup can help your business thrive for quarters to come.
This focus on sustainability speaks to the ongoing processes of maintaining and clarifying your entrepreneurial vision and business model as you go about your day-to-day work. In some ways, business plans need to be malleable. No matter what market or sector you reside in, it isn’t immune to change. Being able to anticipate and respond to change is often a challenge for startups and SMBs alike.
The people that make up your workspace influence true sustainability. Surround yourself with the right people for the job. In a startup environment, the people that you surround yourself with, who collaborate with you and share in common vision, are the people that can lead to the direct success or failure of a venture.
You may be running a one-man show at this point, but the intention in scaling up is to grow your team as demand rises. Those first few selections for employees, partners, or team members are critical. A strong core has a much higher probability of growing in sustainable directions than a team that lacks trust or communication.
As teams grow, a culture of honesty, communication, and trust becomes a must. Part of this comes from a commitment to transparency and sharing of knowledge, but it also comes from addressing the impact of your shared vision through your everyday business practices. Sustainable hiring and employee retention practices will help you to grow your business to include the right people for the job. Sustainable growth also means that you grow at an appropriate pace, not too fast and not too slow.
Sharing the Vision
Additionally, know who your stakeholders are from the outset. Sustainable startups are able to identify, reach, and then steward stakeholders throughout their lifespan. Share your mission and vision with them and help them to become engaged partners on your journey as they buy in to your business plan. Again, transparency is key in this arena as well. Keep clear and transparent records, use financial professionals when applicable and delegate tasks that require expertise to individuals qualified to handle them.
In all, the single best way to use sustainability as an asset for your startup or small business is to intertwine your long-term vision with your day-to-day practices. Your vision and mission should be at the heart of everything that you do. It should act as a figurative siren call that harkens you away from business decisions that don’t align with your long-term goals.
Ensure that every single team member knows the vision for the business and that they have bought in to this shared plan. Come back to your vision frequently, not just annually when you reflect on the progress that you’ve made in the past year. If your vision is well thought out and accurately reflects your business model, you can use it to grow sustainably in the future.