Sofia, Tel Aviv, Montreal, Oslo, Bangalore, Singapore, Instanbul—looks like a travel bucket list to quench some wanderlust. However, these cities have more than just that as their claim to fame. You are looking at a list of emerging startup hubs across the world according to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking released by San Francisco-based Compass last year. While the Silicon Valley remains the first port of call for all things startup, these cities are fast creating ecosystems that are conducive to entrepreneurship.
Sure enough, more startups are setting up their base of operations in these cities, with bigger ones choosing to expand across regions and geographies. The Singapore ecosystem’s benefits include government support and ease of doing business. In Sofia, it’s their low tax regime; in Bangalore, it’s the low cost of good talent, and so on.
In a borderless world, it makes sense for an agile, growing startup to make the most of these perks and create offices that can work seamlessly to produce the best value for the consumer. BankBazaar, for example, started in Bangalore but has recently set up an office in Singapore. Being present in both these countries gives us access to two huge markets: Southeast Asia and India.
But having multiple offices, like traditional MNCs or big conglomerates, doesn’t come without its pain points. Maintaining a consistent work culture, ensuring an unhindered work relationship, building trust between founders and overseas employees, and understanding the market are but some of the challenges that growing startups face. It is far tougher for entrepreneurs to maneuver their way around these issues since most startups don’t have the luxury of time, funds, or resources.
Here’s how we think startups can mitigate the pain points and create a vibrant company.
Maintain an easily identifiable company culture
This is easier said than done and remains one of the biggest challenges for startups with multiple offices. It helps to do the following:
Write down the values
Remember the time when we were told to write it down? That still works when it comes to knowing and communicating company values. It works specifically for companies that are spread across different cultures and countries. Grab, one of the popular ride-hailing technology platforms, talks about a concept called Grab Life. It showcases concepts like moving forward together and building tools that empower people.
Use the storytelling approach
My CEO, Adhil Shetty, talks about the company’s milestones and challenges in the form of stories. He believes that:
“The stories we share with one another are important. They provide context and history as well as insight and wisdom. They connect us with the past and the people around us. And they provide inspiration. The stories we choose to share as individuals and as brands are important to our development.”
This helps humanize the brand, the culture, and the values and is even more important when these aspects need to be carried across teams and countries. Company folklore should be a trend soon.
Create office rituals
Whether it’s Wednesday team lunches, Friday pizzas, Thursday doughnuts, or Monday cupcakes, create an office ritual that stays. Steve Melhuish, co-founder and former CEO of PropertyGuru, a company present across four countries, has a hilarious take on their company customs:
“Most people gain a few pounds (or more) after joining PropertyGuru. It’s the snacks, the good food around our office, and the beer—mostly the beer. We try to make ourselves feel better by having fruits each Wednesday, but it doesn’t stop the median weight at our office from increasing.”
Choose a sustainable, more human goal
Sustainability, recycling, eco-travel—a brand that cares for the world is a brand that resonates with the people. HonestBee, present in seven countries in Asia, stresses being a “social impact business.”
For our company, educating people on core values like saving and showing them ways to navigate the financial landscape with a neutral perspective is crucial and close to our company’s vision of paving people’s ways to finance.
Frequent interactions with founding team
“Building a company is easy,” said no founder ever. It is ruthless and lonely sometimes. The founders of WayUp, a job portal for early-career professionals, talks about being inspirational figures for your team. Break barriers between the founder/founding team and new employees through “meet the founder” meetings or coffee chats.
Build team spirit and hire the best
This may seem obvious, but with startups facing increased pressure from established players to source and retain good talent, building a team of believers is crucial. Adhil’s biggest lesson in leading a team of over 1,000 people is exactly this:
“One thing that has always been clear to me is that you do not want people to work for you, but with you. It has not always been possible to implement this, but there is always a regular and continuous effort to let the team understand that aspect. Every day brings a new learning to discover and [to] implement ways to infuse team spirit.”
This article first appeared on Tech in Asia
The post Here’s How Startups Can Maintain Their Culture Despite Rapid Expansion appeared first on BankBazaar.sg.
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