The approaches that will help your company scale culture and grow efficiently may include tactics that initially turn customers off, according to Aaron Levie, founder and CEO of data storage and information management company Box.
Speaking at the Dreamforce Startup Summit Tuesday, Levie offered some advice that may go against what entrepreneurs are used to hearing. Here are some tips the CEO shared for how to scale up effectively.
Don’t try to please everyone.
You need sales people early on to read the needs of your customers and help you develop your product or service to fit those needs. Consumer pain points should be used to help you shape your vision, but don’t try to perfectly adhere to customer wish lists. Instead, work on solving the problems at the core of customers’ perceived needs. This can get tricky, because some potential users might offer you, say, an extra $100,000 for that one special feature – but stay on track and pursue the overall vision of your company.
“It’s a lot of will power to say no to that deal,” admits Levie.
Micromanage to scale.
The process of designing product that you use when you have 10 or 15 people should remain in place as you grow. If you lose that kind of discipline and attention to detail, you might have a group of employees that know how to do their jobs, but you could lose a sense of cohesion in the overall operation of the company.
“You have to get really good at micromanagement at scale,” said Levie, later adding, “You just have to be incredibly annoying all the way up.”
Hire people with experience.
Recruit people with experience at more established companies in your market because they will understand what strategies work in the field where your startup operates. At the same time, make sure these people aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. They should be joining your startup with the goal of doing things differently.
“You always want to be able to have that kind of tension,” because that tension is what leads to “really disruptive innovation,” says Levie.