This article is written by Mohammad Eslim, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Claus Werner, one of the speakers at Startup Istanbul 2017 event has worked with Amazon for five years, in all those years, he has worked with startups from all over the world, helping them scale their companies from their city, out of their country, out of Europe, and onto the global market
When a lot of startups start to scale, they end up in a Shakespearian tragedy. Many reasons can relate to that such as founders not matching on the same wave, it can be that the first investor doesn’t get the vision and the culture of the founders and it can also be that the first employees where not the right one and simply didn’t fit the culture. Regarding all of the reasons I mentioned, it seems very much important to define that culture from the beginning.
So what do we exactly mean when we say culture and what is the connection between culture and company building? Company building is the culture the founders of the startup brought in from ground zero, the culture you have in the office as in the ethics and principles you work by in the startup no matter how many employees are there in the company and this is what defines the company building. We have example of companies that started in a garage and managed to keep their culture that made them successful into being a fortune companies of vary successful startups. Microsoft, Airbnb, Amazon and Dropbox.
An advice for when your business scale turn into that hockey-stick growth is to keep the culture and to never mess it up. What we now understand is that the culture is what builds up the foundation of the company for all future innovation, if you break it you break the machine that creates your products.
So, the biggest challenge for a lot of startups is to get the first investment, so they put a lot of focus on the invest pitch deck. Second thing they do is looking at the pitch deck clearly aiming to secure the first customers and getting those big customers on board. They often fail to notice an important part of the whole ordeal which is the employee pitch deck; what you look for in an employee, what you offer the employee you are hiring, how to find the right thing in people to match the culture and what makes you unique as a workplace. All of these point affect you in your way to scaling.
As to who should share the culture we have the founders, who define the culture into the company, and then the first employees who make sure the culture will fit in the new recruited employees and we have a hope for the organization also to share the culture across all its departments.
In addition to all those who should share the culture, the investors have to be enlisted. Because if the investors are nor on the board with what you want to do and how you want to do it then your work is going down the road faster than you think. However, the most amazing thing you can do is to share the culture with your customers and partners, because they will reward you with trust, rate