How To Keep It Fun While Your Startup Is Growing

May 22, 2017, 7:00 PM UTC
Starship Technologies,, Guardtime, Transferwise, Tallinn, Estonia
Photograph by Piotr Malecki—Panos Pictures for Fortune

The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What should budding entrepreneurs know about building a business?” is written by Steve Kokinos, co-founder and executive chairman of Fuze.

Building a business is never a straight line from point A to point B. Finding ways around road blocks and fighting through all the challenges can be tough, but it’s also what makes running a company so fun and rewarding. That’s why surrounding yourself with great people is so important. It’s both the shared and unique experiences that will help you find different ways to overcome obstacles, make the best decision, and move on.

Keeping the startup spirit alive

We definitely found it challenging to maintain our startup spirit through a hyper-growth phase. At one point, we grew by 500 employees in a span of just 18 months. When the company was smaller, I was able to interview every new hire and ensure we were bringing in people who embodied the culture we were looking for. With our rapidly expanding workforce, it’s become more challenging to connect with everyone so we’ve had to focus on other ways to maintain a personal connection. We’ve had a lot of success with town hall meetings so that employees continue having honest and open conversations with the executive team.

Cultivate a unique culture

The culture you nurture from day one is a huge part of company success. Organizations need to foster their culture organically because at the end of the day, it’s about people. In an effort to make our team feel proud of the brand and connected to their workplace, we’ve given them the responsibility of defining and documenting our values. We’ve held workshops at our offices around the world to get people talking about what it’s like to work at Fuze today and share their vision for what we could be in the future.

Keep communication open

Believe in the mantra: “no idea is a bad idea.” Open, consistent dialog and a culture where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas is critical. I use both one-on-one and group messaging within our app so our internal team has a constant stream of conversation throughout the day. I do this in a stream of consciousness. As ideas pop into my head, I share them with people on my team to discuss later. It keeps new ideas from getting lost and immediately starts a discussion around them. Kicking ideas around in a form that works for you is critical, regardless of what size or stage your business may be.

Maintain work-life balance

Building a business is never easy. There’s always more you can do, and there are demands on your time 24×7. I’ve always tried to focus on maintaining a few simple things whenever possible, such as taking an hour to go for a run or bike ride, and being home with my family on the weekends no matter where travel takes me. The startup world moves at lightning speed around you, but even so, it’s important to protect the time that helps you recharge and think. I have some of my best ideas while exercising or relaxing on vacation. Finding balance leads you to the right answers at work, too.

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