Operate the Company

“There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” -Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric

The hardest part about starting a company is running it effectively. Companies don’t run themselves. That may sound trite and obvious, but unless you devise a system for running your company, it will consume you and take you away from focusing on the reason it exists to begin with – providing a great product and getting and keeping customers.

Entrepreneurs create, refine, and manage ideas. Big corporations create, refine, and manage process. To grow your company – to make it successful – you must put in place good systems and processes. The good news is that the availability of tools necessary to create good processes is plentiful and the costs are inexpensive for most startups.

Things to Think About and Decide

First, think about how you will list and prioritize the most important things that must get done each week, to move your company to the next step.

Second, decide how you and your team will communicate and collaborate with each other.

Third, think carefully about which company functions you should delegate or outsource, and which functions you or your co-founder(s) should manage.

Fourth, think about how to leverage the talent, information, space, supplies, equipment, tools, and other resources of your connections (family, friends, partners, suppliers, customers) to help run your company.

Things to Do and Avoid

Do not reinvent the wheel and try to build or customize systems and processes, at least at the start. There is a tool, template, or service for just about everything your company needs to operate.

Do, standardize on an email and web service and install it on all your devices.

Do, standardize on a phone and video conferencing service that your team will use to communicate with each other and with customers and partners, such as Skype, Google Meet, Go-to-Meeting, ZOOM, or Webex.

Do, standardize on a document suite such as GoogleDocs or Microsoft Office.

Do, standardize on a good project management tool. If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it or manage it.

Do, get in the habit of writing a company update at least once per month and share it with your team, shareholders, and influencers.

Do, develop a dashboard or score card (Key Performance Metrics – KPI’s) of all key business metrics and share them with everyone weekly.

Do, meet regularly with your team and advisors and focus on key milestones.

Recommended Readings & Resources

The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

A classic, simply the best book you will ever read on running a successful company.

SCORE, Starting a Business Library

Loads of great resources for starting and operating a small business.

Google WorkSpace

Online office suite including word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail, and calendar.

ZOHO
The operating system for any small business.

FreshBooks

Online invoicing, accounting and billing software.

Reputation.com

Monitor your reputation and those of your company and products.

Getting Things Done

by David Allen – Tactics to organize efficient task lists.

The Process of Creating Good Processes in a Startup (Part 1) and (Part 2).

StartupBiz.com

Legal and business templates for startup companies.

Trello

Manage all your ideas and due dates and keep track of what you’re in the process of completing.

Asana

Teamwork without email.

FaxZero

Send and receive faxes through your email.

RescueTime

Monitor how you spend your time on your computer and mobile devices.

Remember the Milk

A to-do list manager that you can sync with all your devices, share tasks with others, and get email or text reminders of things you need to get done.

Evernote

Remember everything using text, photo or audio notes, and clippings of websites.

Feedly

One of the best RSS readers on the market, a place to keep up with all the latest from your favorite blogs and publications.

TaskRabbit

Outsource any task you really don’t want to do, from running errands to planning the details of your next event.

IFTTT

“If This Then That,” helps different apps, online programs, and services work together to make your life easier.

Lifehacker

Solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had, from how to handle IT glitches to productivity tips.

Eventbrite

Great tool for finding events and for planning and promoting your own events.

Conference Bites

An aggregation of all the notes you missed at various industry conferences.

Udemy

A mix of free and paid online classes with a solid rating system.

Upworthy

Social issues that matter most, with viral videos and images to stimulate ideas for your products and services.

TED

Unlimited inspiration and cool people doing amazing things.

Quora

Ask questions, get answers. Good place to crowdsource things you want to know.

99U

Strategies for turning your ideas into action.

Visual.ly

Create your own infographic on your market or product.

Behance

Showcase your design work, get ideas from really talented people.

Bubbl.us

Gather your thoughts, save them for later to continue the thought process, or print or email them to yourself.

PayScale

Best source of data to find out what positions pay in different geographical areas. Use it before offering someone a raise (or asking for one).

DiSC for Entrepreneurs and Startup Teams

Time-tested assessments and personalized reports to help surface entrepreneurial and team leadership and workstyles, and behavioral predispositions.

Mint

Link your credit cards, bank accounts, and loans to have a total online system that tracks your spending, saving, and financial health.

Fast Company

One of the best weekly reads on business news.

Mashable

The “leading source for news, information, and resources for the Connected Generation,” Mashable reports on our digital lives.

Inc.

Good read for productivity tips, management advice, and secrets of some of the world’s most successful people.

Harvard Business Review

Tips on everything from corporate strategy to managing people.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Smart, in-depth reporting about the biggest business, financial, and stock market issues.

First Round Review
One of the best collections of content for startups. Subscribe to their newsletter for in-depth articles on all topics related to building a successful business.

theSkimm

Get the day’s top headlines in one newsletter, makes staying current easy.


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