Keeping the Startup Mentality Alive

Image courtesy of Social Monsters.

Image courtesy of Social Monsters.

If you have the entrepreneurial fire burning within you, you probably have a vision of what that big dream will look like someday in all its manifested glory. Maybe it’s growing your company enough to require a building the size of a football field, or reaching an IPO. Whatever the vision, you’ve certainly thought about it and worked toward it. If you were to attain that dream, would you keep working hard and stoking the fire the same way you did as a startup?

If you want to be the best, you can never be too big to keep that startup mentality alive. From democratizing feedback to encouraging personal connections, you must retain the start-up spirit. Whatever stage of business you’re in, here are a few things you can learn from the big dogs.

Raising Cane’s – Keeping the Passion Alive

When your business is just a seed of an idea, there’s never a shortage of passion. As it moves from concept to real company, that initial hunger can start to dissipate and be replaced with indifference. You still care about your brand’s trajectory, but you’re not as wholeheartedly invested since you’re able to be more removed and let your employees handle the day to day. Whatever you do, don’t lose the fervor.

Raising Cane’s is a great example of a large organization that holds tight to that original enthusiasm. The founder, Todd Graves, is still actively involved in the company and, together with his wife, participates in its charitable events. He channels his ongoing passion into giving more than 25 percent of profits back to the communities where his restaurants operate. That endless desire to do great things with your business should start when you’re a startup, and continue on no matter your size.

Lifelock – Generosity with Benefits and Perks

When your business is fresh, the tendency is to be generous to employees. After all, your company is small and it’s important that each person is happy since every role is pivotal. As you grow, individuals sometimes end up taking a backseat. People are seen as replaceable, and policies are made more strict in order to stay in line with your scaling development. In reality, the best time to reward your hardworking staff is all the time. From when you have one person on your team to when you reach employee number 10,000, people still matter. And your business will benefit from treating them well.

Lifelock is an example of a business that didn’t let its growth impede its generosity with its team. In addition to providing free Lifelock memberships to employees and their immediate family members, the company also offers them substantial paid time off and paid holidays. There are other perks extended to members of the team as well, like tuition assistance and wellness rewards. Lifelock is able to experience a trickle down effect of contentment from its employees to its customers as a result of treating people well from the get-go. This is a lesson that can always be learned, no matter how big your business gets.

CenturyLink – Agility and Collaboration

CenturyLink is no stranger to large-scale growth. But despite its stature, the business is still operated from a startup perspective in many aspects. One example of this is the Cloud Development Center that the company recently launched. This space was intentionally designed to encourage and nurture collaboration between employees, with individuals being grouped together by their “workstreams.” Different rooms have different setups and vibes, and are highly personalized by the group using the space.

With any business at any stage, agility and collaboration are crucial to your success. The old adage about there not being an “I” in team holds true for companies that want to accomplish big things. People must work together, and if you’re a leader, it’s your responsibility to foster that. Also, stay nimble with your plans and let your team get creative with their workspaces so they can operate within environments that allow them to be their bests.

So when you get to that point where you think your startup days are over and it’s time to rest on your haunches, take a moment’s pause. Consider companies like Raising Cane’s, Lifelock and CenturyLink. Just because they reached pinnacles of success didn’t mean they stopped caring every bit as much as they had in their beginning stages. If you keep the passion alive, are generous with your team, embrace agility and further collaboration, your business will make its mark in more ways than one. You’ll be known for your revenue, sure, but better yet, you’ll be known for the way you stayed true to your vision and to what really matters.