When you’re trying to carve out a space for yourself in an established industry, there’s a lot to be said for creating a fun, quirky business culture. It’s a great way to attract new talent and give your business a defined and recognisable personality.
However, left unchecked, this reliance on a set of values and traits that have become recognisable as ‘startup material’ can have a detrimental effect on your business’s growth.
Startups tend to have a certain zing about them, but there’s a big difference between revelling in being the new kid on the block and accidentally becoming mired in a startup cliché culture.
Here are some common startup clichés and pitfalls to avoid when starting your new business.
Investing too heavily in ‘quirky’ office spaces
Google might not have been the first business to foster a fun, quirky atmosphere in the workplace, but it certainly solidified the trend.
The search giant has everything from a rock-climbing wall to sleeping pods in its Sydney office. But unless your small business has the bank balance to match Google’s clout, you need to keep a close eye on your spending.
A cool workspace can be useful in attracting staff and clients and can help foster the impression that your business is an innovative one. But you don’t want to use up all your capital just to create an impressive office and risk never getting the business off the ground.
Also, unless you back up an innovative culture with commitment to and a strong investment in your business’s core skills, it’s never going to be the clincher on a big deal.
Letting your ‘unstructured approach’ run wild
The laid-back, unstructured approach is a very popular one among businesses that want to cement the fact that their employees are creative, innovative and insightful. And by allowing staff some freedom to discover their own best working patterns, you might find they’re able to be more imaginative and productive.
However, when it comes to operating efficiently within a business, your employees need guidelines and some kind of structure. Otherwise, they can be left feeling lost, confused and unsure of exactly what they should be doing for the business – and why! And when that happens, don’t expect much productivity.
Losing sight of the bottom line
The biggest and most dangerous problem with trying to build a fun and unusual startup is simply losing sight of what your business needs to achieve to be successful.
For all businesses, the bottom line is crucial. In the hubbub and excitement of trying to create an eye-catching office culture, some new business owners can lose sight of the prize and find that they’re facing failure before they’ve had a chance to really get going.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with the elements of startup culture. The trick is to make sure they’re working for your business’s needs and goals.
For guidance on how to get to grips with growing a new company without relying on startup clichés, have a look at our guide to starting a new business.