The Role of Culture in a Start-Up

 A start-up culture needs to be very conscious and strategic, rooted deep into the underlying and mutually agreed upon vision, core values and beliefs.

Building a strong company culture from day one is just as important as the product and the go-to-market strategy. Start-up life is stressful and unforgiving and the risk of failure grows exponentially without a strong culture as a backbone.

Organisational Culture is:

  • Amplified by the behaviours of its leaders
  • Embedded in a network of Organisational Practices
  • Shared beliefs, values and assumptions held by members of the organisation
  • Visible in the ‘way that work gets done’ on a day-to-day basis.

Organisational Culture is driven by:

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Strategic Goals, Direction & Intent (based on Values)
  • Objectives

Cultural Building Principles to Live By:

build your idea with a strong start-up culture

We have outlined the key principles founders should advocate for the long-term success of any organisation.

1.     Humility
Humility is essential to building trusted relationships. It is a true reflection of your success and self-confidence. Be humble and treat everyone equally. It lays strong foundations organisational culture.

2.     Communicate & operationalise
Your dream and your company culture needs to be outward focused to a higher good, extending beyond the company’s financial interests. Your mission statement must be reflective of this.

3.     Clarity & engagement
Your personal priorities, values, and principles set the organisational culture. The best way to be clear about them is to regularly engage team members, customers and suppliers.

4.     Organisational design
This includes the specific work your organisation must do, the capabilities you need to build for a competitive advantage and the career path for team members to bring this to life. It should help the team share the same vision.

build the right team for creating a new business

5.     The right team
The initial team will eventually become the core team for any start-up. Care must be taken while picking the first crew. It is necessary for the entire team to believe in the mission and share the same values and objectives.

6.     Champion innovation
You must visibly champion a portfolio approach to innovation, emanating from dreams, not desperation. The portfolio should be much more than just product improvements and should include better business models, customer service improvements, as well as continuous process improvements.

7.     Culture of excellence
Believe in your team, set high standards and stick to them. A good team will step up to the challenge.

8.     Continuous training
This is a hallmark of great leaders and great companies.

9.     Create excitement
Focus on actions that will be meaningful to your team and other stakeholders, and make them fun as well as directional.

10.  Success brews success
Customers can sense how motivated employees are just from seeing the product and how it is presented to them. Customers want to buy into a winner, so make sure your people never compromise on excellence and never back away from an opportunity to delight a customer.

11.  Live your legacy
If you don’t know your ultimate goal, you will never get there. If your team doesn’t know the ultimate goal of your business, they can’t get it there either.

12.  Review
Just like everything else, organisational culture needs to be reviewed regularly to ensure it upholds the core values and that it is adapting to the changing times.

Raja Jata

Partner, Business Advisory
Tel +61 2 9619 1848

Raja is a Partner in the Business Advisory team at Crowe Horwath. He specialises in process improvement, developing strategy and leadership in businesses and change management. Raja’s clients spans start-ups to Government and established multinationals in both B2C and B2B environments.

If you'd like to see more of our essential tips for managing and promoting your crowdfunding project, you can grab our Guide To Crowdfunding here.

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