Company staffing priorities. Often technical founders and CEOs tend to rely on other like-minded technical experts for increasing bandwidth once a company grows. In the long term this is not optimal. It is important to consider early filling positions in areas such as finance, operations, manufacturing and engineering with experts to position the company for the expected growth. We assist in developing a hiring plan to fill the org chart systematically in the right and logical sequence for the anticipated company needs. We can also assist in the hiring process by providing a structured process, developing job descriptions, and helping with recruiting.

HR policies and processes. While not the focus in a startup, it is important to put in place a set of policies and processes as the company brings on more employees to minimize confusion and exposure to potential liabilities. Clear policies and processes minimize issues with new employees and protect the company against claims. We assist in identifying the appropriate policies and can supply examples and templates to reduce the time required for implementation. Many small companies can operate very successfully and effectively without having a dedicated HR resource internally by using outsourced solutions. We can assist in finding the right solution for the company’s size and demands.

Company processes. ISO9001 certification or even a much more simple quality system typically is not on the priority list for a startup company. But bringing some discipline of documenting company processes in all operational areas as they develop is of high importance and relatively simple to do. Documenting and following established processes is critical to avoiding costly mistakes, enabling efficiencies, training new hires, and potentially outsourcing certain processes to increase bandwidth. We assist in identifying the scope of process documentation adequate and can help in the initial documentation and training of personnel to maintain the system. Documenting processes is as simple as writing down what is done today in a Word document and making sure there is a version controlled repository to keep track of the documentation. The need for a documented quality system may hit you by surprise, most often when selling products to a large corporation or for high value contracts in general.

Company systems. Early stage companies very often can conduct business using Quickbooks Online as an accounting and basic bookkeeping system and a collection of Excel spreadsheets for functions like production planning, inventory, etc. As a company grows, so grows the need to find better systems and solutions to automate and streamline processes and functions. The most critical system a company eventually needs to implement is a company-wide ERP system that typically runs finance, accounting, manufacturing operations, purchasing, cost tracking, etc. ERP implementations run north of $100 thousand or much more when implementation time is factored in. We assist in reviewing existing systems and developing a roadmap for the future. In many cases simple solutions are adequate but one needs to put thresholds in place that trigger investments in more comprehensive systems. One has to be shovel ready and prepared (for example with well documented processes) to deal with system rollout in a time of growth when the company is under a lot of stress. We can help in managing the execution of the rollout and keeping things on track.

Training. Continuously investing in the growth and development of employees is a big motivator and brings new skills and experience to your company. There are various ways to help employees grow in their careers and work towards advancing their skills. The most overlooked (and cheapest) way is to first develop a career development plan together with the employee. You will be surprised what you can learn from your employees and what makes them tick. We can assist in putting a simple program in place to get started in this important area. The prescribed curriculum for employees can consist of self-study, mentoring, formal classes, and on-the-job training. Many of these are low cost and don’t take away work time from the employees. They are an investment that will pay off by itself in the long term.

Coaching. Many executives can profit greatly from one-on-one coaching to address the challenges they face. We assist in determining the best course of action to provide the most effective type of coaching support for your key executives. This can range from joining a coaching group that meets regularly and provides one-on-one coaching to occasional “as needed” coaching sessions with us. The ability to call us up to discuss difficult and impactful issues facing the company can be a lifeline in difficult and stressful situations.

Networking. For high performing workers, the network of experts they can lean on is one of their most important assets. We bring to the table a wide network of experts in various fields that can step in and help when expert knowledge is required.