Of Scaling Up And What Startups Can Learn From Fortune 500 Companies

[Editorial notes : Guest piece by Ishan, founder of Aspricot – a tech service company. ]
The Art & Science of Scaling
The Art & Science of Scaling
Aspricot is a service based company and our growth is directly proportional to the number of people we have on our team and we love humans.
Since the day we started Aspricot, we focused on having more and more people in our team and taking in the opinion suggestions from online resources and believe me, those resources doesn’t want you to grow. Each business has different requirements, so never rely on digital sources alone.
Experiment everything, but stick to only that actually works. Move Fast and Break Things. 
 Following are the basic things that we have researched in past two years that fortune 500 companies have, and that’s the reason they are the fortune 500 companies:

Recruitment

Recruitment and Human Resource are two separate things in terms of functions and in terms of people. If you are not scaling up the team, then you can just afford to have generalized HR, but if you are looking to scale the team, then have a dedicated recruitment team who has nothing to do with the HR function, please mark that, it’s very important, and you will regret having two of them inter connected. 

Another important part that most of the startups forgets at the time of recruitment is to have a Job Description, KRA and KPI’s well written before starting the interviews process.

Job Description, KRA and KPIs

They are very important, you should clearly mention the complete profile of what you are expecting, what performance they are required to deliver and it should be told to the new joiner well before the new joiner steps in the company just to make sure they are making the right decision joining your startup.

Tough Is Cool !

Another blunder that most of us focus on is telling people the cool profile they can have if they join your startup, that is extremely incorrect,. It’s a startup and the job is tough, don’t misguide people. If the job is tough, do let people know its tough so that they don’t have unexpected expectations when joining your team.

Hire People who are compatible with you, just like your life partner and I mean it. Everyone in Aspricot is compatible enough to become my life partner. Don’t compromise on this, because people who aren’t compatible with you, will sooner or later have to move apart.

Human Processes

Each business has different process both digital and human, and I would strongly suggest that don’t build your business without having processes. Startups tends to lose out on process as it adds additional expenses and make limitations on individual profile. But this is one of the most important part of your whole startup. If you don’t have processes, your startup would die out very soon.

For Example:
We have a requirement of 1 person available on our sales chat available 24×7. We hired 4 people and divided the shifts.

  1. 6 am to 3 pm. – Australia Shift
  2. 1.30 PM to 10.30 PM. – London Shift
  3. 9 pm to 6 am. – US Shift
  4. 9 am to 6 pm. – Indian Shift.
  5. Shifts are rotated each week and when the person reaches 4th shift, he has to do quality assurance which is easy task
  6. We hired 4 people instead of three, the quality assurance wasn’t really required, but if we look at the reality, we don’t think after one year we would be able to retain all 4 of them, if one goes of, there would still be 3 people and the process won’t break.
  7. No one has a burden of consistent night/odd shifts and we have one person in excess buffer all the time.

This way we have processes for each department and we have one person sitting free in all the departments.

With Processes also keep the following points in mind:

  • Human Structure / Hierarchy 
  • Automation
    1. Regular Reporting System
    2. Reward & Penalty System
  • Problems and their Solutions on each node of the process.
  • Process should be easy for Humans to follow.

Discipline

Most startups tends to make things easy as a cultural aspect, but what most of us forget is responsibility and authority comes when people are disciplined and habitual to do something on a regular basis.

  1. Couple of blunders that can be noted are:
    1. Dressing Culture
    2. Working Time
    3. Delivery Time
  2. You are not google or Microsoft when you start, the people working with them are completely on a different pace than yours, don’t try to copy them up, it will not work, it will break culture. Make sure until you are 100 and people have been working with you since a year or two, they are addicted to discipline, after that, you can become lenient, they will be habitual to normal routine and the new people who join them up will follow the senior.

Retention

Retention as what other people say is just isn’t about money, there are a lot of different factors involved. Focus on them. People consistently want to grow, they consistently want to be challenged and they consistently want low work pressure. Make sure you have all those things considered while building the process.

For Example:

  1. Aspricot has 5 team members in each engineering team. Out of them, 4 members are required to perform tasks each week and 1 member is not assigned any task. And there is a rotation, so each week, one person would always be free.
  2. Another friend of mine who runs a saloon chain in Two tier cities of India has given rewards based system where in after completion of 6 months in their business, the employees gets USD 1000 to buy vehicle for commuting and after 2 years, they own the vehicle. Similarly, on the completion of 5 years in their business, they get USD. 5000 for the down payment of their home. He also provides stay facility to all the people who are working for him from day one itself that reduces a major cost for employees.

Soft Skills

We have always concentrated on training people on technology and everything related to work and the latter was always neglected, but believe me, work is something people will learn on their own if the soft skills are done properly, and it has to be consistent, a lot of startups start doing soft skills and drop them early on as there is no early result for the same. Soft skills are not something which people can learn in weeks, it takes time and time which is huge.

For Example:
Being a founder of Aspricot and low on budget, a close friend suggested that I should conduct presentations every two week, the presentation would be based on my values and what i want to inherit in the team. The point i started doing that, most of my thoughts are conveyed properly, and the team is getting regular lessons, there is a shift happening, some people take things quickly but some take time, but it does work for everyone. This is also helping me in improving my own presentation and public speaking skills.

Its been two years and I have learnt it hard way. I hope some of the points would help you out in building a scalable startup Business. Also keep in mind, humans make mistakes and some people are more human.