Today I gave a keynote presentation at the web.start conference here in Zagreb, Croatia on happiness in startups.
My 3 main points in the presentation were:
- Happiness at work will make or break your startup. Creating a great company where people
likelove working is the #1 success factor.
- It’s easy. All it takes to make people happy at work is results and relationships. Give them a chance to do work they can be proud of, together with people they like, and they will be happy.
- Do something. We can all be a part of creating happiness where we are.
So how do you do it? My 8 tips for creating a happy startup are:
1: Skip the boring crap
Why are you slaving over bills and invoices if you really, really hate doing that? Do what you like to do – outsource everything else, preferably to someone who likes it. Yes, there are in fact people out there who enjoy bookkeeping.
2: Screw the business plan
You may be forced to make one to satisfy investors or your bank – but then promptly forget all about it. The world changes too fast for a business plan to be a relevant tool, and trying to run your company according to the plan is an exercise in futility.
3: Dump customers that make you unhappy
As a small company, it’s tempting to hold on to every customer. Don’t. If a customer repeatedly causes trouble and is abrasive, fire their ass. Here’s an example of why that’s such a good idea.
4: Relax & take breaks
Breaks, vacations and pauses are essential to your happiness at work. Not so much for the chance to recuperate, but mostly for the perspective they give you. You need to get away once in a while to see the whole and remind yourself of what you’re doing, rather than being stuck in short-term problem-solving mode.
5: Hire happy people
And the codicil: Hire no assholes. Naturally happy people are a boon to a startup, because they are more energetic, motivated, passionate and creative.
6: Make all decisions based on this: What will make me, my people and my customers happy?
Forget any of these, and you’re probably going in the wrong direction.
7: Celebrate your victories
Every chance you get! That is what give you the energy to get your next victory – and to overcome your next defeat.
8: ask yourself why?
Why are you starting this company? If your reasons are not about making yourself and/or others happy – try again. Why do anything if it won’t make you happy?
Not only do happy companies make more money, but when you’re creating a business, why create one, that won’t make you happy?
And never forget: Happy companies make more money: