How To Maintain A Startup Culture Even After You’ve Made It Big

There comes a time in every scrappy startup’s life when it’s no longer an underdog fighting for survival, but has morphed into a full-fledged business. Now, every day isn’t a battle to gain traction and find users. Rather, you’re looking for ways to codify what works and grow your customer base.

There’s no doubt this is an accomplishment worth celebrating, but as you cruise into the next chapter of your startup’s life, you’ll notice something is different. All of a sudden, your vibrant startup culture has hardened and started to resemble the run-of-the-mill corporate structure you probably wanted to escape in the first place.

It’s true, you’re not a startup anymore in the literal sense of the word, but there’s still a lot of value to be gained in behaving like one. But how can you preserve that early-stage feel in a company that’s further along? Here are a few tips to help you maintain a startup culture even when you’ve reached the big leagues:

“Allow your best employees to hold cross-department roles.”

Keep communications open
When you first started up, you probably only had a few employees. While everyone had some sort of loosely defined role, there likely weren’t any departments in the official sense of the word. When people wanted to reach out to one another, whether it was an intern seeking a managerial opinion, or co-workers looking to collaborate on a project, they could just walk up to someone’s desk and start a conversation.

As companies grow, everyone takes on more formal roles and the lines of communication can be a little more structured. This can have some benefits, but it takes away from the startup feel when managers and staff can’t be on the same level in terms of communication. You can prevent this by having regular meetings with all stakeholders and encouraging managers to keep an open-door policy.


Allow for cross-department roles
One of the coolest parts of working at a startup is that you aren’t pigeonholed into a narrow role. You can wear multiple hats and be involved in a wide range of projects. Unfortunately, this usually goes out the window once a business starts to scale. This can be a major impediment to continued innovation since some of the best ideas come from the cross-disciplinary thinking that comes when your employees are doing multiple tasks at once.

To keep a startup atmosphere and encourage creative thinking, allow for cross-department roles for the employees who prove they can handle it. This will help

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