10 startup techniques to jump-start your brand

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Keep your employees happy

Make smart hires and you can trust your employees to do their best work. Don't micromanage -- instead, promote autonomy. Let employees set their own schedules, work from home when necessary, and set their own deadlines. Online test prep startup Magoosh lets employees work on their own schedule, setting their hours whenever they feel they're the most productive. The only requirement is a 10-minute daily meeting before noon.

Also think about offering perks that speak to who your company is. Clif Bar has a 40-foot bouldering wall and space for yoga. Foursquare offers employees free Rdio accounts, Tumblr hosts gaming and movie-watching nights, and Evenbrite offers in-office massages and yoga classes.

You may not be able to offer these premium extras, but think about how you can create a culture that keeps employees happy and speaks to your organizational mission.

At Rockfish, our employees tell us when they need time off and there's no cap on allotted vacation time. We're hard workers, so we trust our staff to strike that balance. We also feel strongly about recognizing and rewarding our employees, so we developed Rockfish Rewards, an internal online platform that encourages employees to recognize each other with points that can be used for prizes of the employee's choice. We loved the idea so much that we spun it off into its own Rockfish Labs company, YouEarnedIt. The platform is quickly being licensed by organizations across the country that see the value in employee happiness.

Fail fast and fail often

While many brand managers worry about failure of a product or idea, in the startup world, entrepreneurs worry about not failing fast enough. Failing fast means you're making progress. In the breakneck pace of today's business world, speed and fearlessness are no longer optional. For venture capitalists, the thinking is that if you place your bets on 10 startups, one or two will deliver a great return, while three or four will break even and the rest will completely fail. Failure is part of the equation, but it doesn't mean future success is not around the corner.

Act like a founder

You may not be the CEO -- you may not even be the head of your department. But take pride and ownership in your role and bring ideas to the table every day that go beyond fulfilling your job title and benefit the entire organization. Funnel your passion into a sense of ownership. Believe in what you're doing and make sure everyone on your team does too.



Brant Emery
Brant Emery February 12, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Interesting - a brand guideline for startups that doesn't mention customers anywhere?