I was mortified, angry, and disappointed. We had lost a client. But I also knew it was my fault, in the end, it didn’t matter. The mistake had happened, and we needed to fix it. I swallowed my pride, called in a meeting and set to make a strategy based on one question: “How can we grow from this?”.

That’s all you need to ask, business is made to grow and make a profit, yes, but it cannot do anything if you do not look after your team, your employees, your culture. Every failure is an opportunity for growth OR an opportunity for stagnation! The company culture and wellbeing are more important than ever and building a healthy work-life balance is a MUST.

Every failure is an opportunity for growth OR an opportunity for stagnation!

More and bigger companies are adopting these new ways of operating, getting more human-centric. And there’s a reason! StartYourSales is a 100% remote company, operating across four different time zones. The necessity and impact of strong company culture is immediate. We have built strong values, procedures that strengthen our team and helps it grow with every adversity because that is the only way a company like this can survive, but that is also the way it can become much stronger, much more resilient and much more effective than traditional companies. And it all starts from putting the people first, working on what they love. And the leader should be a guide and inspiration, setting the course and empowering everyone to get there.

Build your business people first!

In StartYourSales we have settled for a very flat structure. Our main goal is to have a strong team of passionate, like-minded people working on what they love while having fun together. Building a dream team. But for everything to work together, for this to succeed certain values have to be CODED in the company DNA. Values. Our five pillars that can hold up our company, no matter the storm or the hardship: 

  1. Authenticity
  2. Lead With Gratitude
  3. Growth
  4. Team 1st
  5. Ego is the Enemy

Now you might be asking how the company values or only focusing on company culture build a good work-life balance. The answer is simple when you treat everyone like you would like to be treated while seeing the success of the company as a personal success as well, all the pieces fall in place. Allowing for personal time, while knowing when the need arises they can be counted on or the team can handle it.  Giving space for the person to grow as a person while helping them on their road. Building social relations that bring joy to everyday life and a group that is always there. All of our values are designed to make us grow as a team, and as individual persons.

1. Authenticity

Our first value is authenticity, we seek to do the work that comes from our hearts, sincerely helping other people, working from the place of honesty and authenticity. And a leader, be it a CEO, a Founder or a team leader, it should be someone who always has time for their employees and helps out whenever needed while keeping the direction true. When a team works with total transparency and communication, mistakes won‘t turn into lies damaging the company, internal fighting doesn‘t happen and everything rolls without effort.

Businesses don‘t realize how much energy gets spent on workplace rivalries or hiding of mistakes that have been made. We‘ve grown up in a society where you get punished for being authentic and we are told that you have to cheat others to advance. However, the absolute opposite is true! When you work from a total authenticity it shows, the clients feel your willingness to help, and systems work transparently fixing every mistake as it shows up.

We‘ve grown up in a society where you get punished for being authentic!

Now for work-life balance, mentally working in a company that supports this type of thinking is like a breath of fresh air. Mondays become fun again and the work supports you in your everyday life. Not only is working much easier as you don‘t have to always worry about work drama or rain of fire from the boss but also the necessities of everyday life are understood better and if someone needs help, the team is also there to support.

2. Lead with gratitude

Leading with gratitude is about being your best self with other people. Human to human mentality! Everything, business, sales, relationships, and friendships are human to human! People are the most important component of any system or process thus team has to work as a unit. And what better way to strengthen it as a gratitude for your team, knowing they always have your back and being thankful when they help. Giving recognition as a team leader is crucial as well for it makes the employees more motivated to do better. And when each employee is in the mindset of helping and over-delivering on their promises the speed of growth goes to the next level, while requiring much less mental effort.

People are the most important component of any system or process.

In the process it means avoiding micromanaging your team all the time, helping them to move forward and helping them to get better whenever they need support or make a mistake. The feeling of security in the company is highly important because that is what increases innovation and motivates the employees to push themselves. Also when the employees don‘t have to be afraid of mistakes they make, they will actually be communicated well in time when there is much higher chance to reduce their effect and turn them into possibilities for growth instead of magnifying them tenfold. Positivity and wellbeing as a part of work have been in a huge growing trend in the last few years and even companies like Google or Apple are realizing the importance of these principles.

In the end, work-life balance means that you’re enjoying the balance you have between work and other things in life. It’s a part of life it should be enjoyed, and complementing your own life. Gratitude and empathy bring more happiness to everyone‘s lives. It‘s a chain reaction, not only to boost productivity but to empower everyone in their individual lives to be truly loving your life and work all the same.

3. Growth 

Of course the cornerstone of every business, however in StartYourSales we look for growth with an open mind. Our goal is for all of us to learn as much as possible, grow as people and use the newest technology focusing on working smart. Quality over quantity. It‘s also a state of mind for handling our business. Not getting hooked on the ways of working just because of “it‘s always done like this”. Maybe even comparing us to the “lean startup model” we focus on the best outcome, working smart and resolving problems in a way that we learn.

As mentioned before we seek out the latest technologies to help us in our workflow, with the mindset of systematization: learn, make a process, automate, control. Rather than doing the same work over and over we create strong systems to build upon, always growing, moving to new areas, learning on the process. Every mistake or a “failure” is an opportunity to reflect on our past processes and see what we could do better. Moving fast is more important in reality than never making mistakes. Of course, quality is very important, but getting stuck in analysis paralysis is death.

The job should be something that is helping you grow, professionally as well as a person.

In many companies growth is achieved by rigorous pushing of people, making them sacrifice wellbeing, and all the other relationships, “Only the results matter”. Yelling, punishing and increased workload with unpaid overworking is extremely common practice. However when employees are appreciated and instead of inhumanly pushing, helping them to grow, they will reach much better results without any need of sacrificing it all for a job. We live in a time of technology that we can leverage for our advantage like never before. The job should be something that is helping you grow, professionally as well as a person, and having the culture of the right type of growth empowers the building of extraordinary life where one can have it all.

4. Team First

Team first! To build a team that can face any challenge you need a spirit that does not break, a mentality that sees it as a big family where everybody has their own tasks and responsibilities, their pros and cons and to see the big picture while also working all the time to give your own personal best without letting others down. It’s important for everyone to know what are we working forwards to, understand our mission and do their part to make the teamwork as efficiently as possible. 

As for the part of processes, we keep up weekly meetings where we discuss our advancement in each individual area, going through tasks, discussing our vision and values, making sure all the problems are taken care of. For each major task or a process, we assign a leader amongst us, who will be responsible for seeing it gets done, this doesn’t mean doing it all by themselves, but handling delegation, execution and seeing the task is a success. “Make it your baby.” The importance is not when you work, it’s that it gets done!

You’re able to build your work schedule around your own life.

Some might see this as a recipe for overburdening the employees, however giving responsibility and making them understand what needs to be done as well as handling their time and resources makes the biggest impact on the work-life balance. You’re able to build your work schedule around your own life as long as you understand the needs and times of the team as well. Working together and handling issues together is what makes the team highly effective while giving everybody more liberty.

5. Ego is the enemy

Closely related to the last one is also a matter of ego. Remembering the company has been put together under a certain vision and values. Already when joining we seek to find people with a certain mentality, people who love our vision and really want to give their best to work for that. And down the line, this also means remembering not to push your own ego and focusing on the efficiency and the best of the vision instead of some momentarily gain. The main question is: “How can I help?”

So many businesses are ruined by this simple, but deadly detail. Ego is something that should only be used with care! It is useful from time to time, for example when you have to ace a sales pitch. But then it should be put back in your pocket and go back to the state of understanding and empathy. The amount of energy that is saved by implementing this golden rule is astonishing. In action, it means listening to new ideas, not getting attached to the conventional ways of judging someone or some ideas because of hierarchy structures. Also when there are big tensions ask yourself if you could somehow alleviate it, or if you’re causing it.

“what’s common sense is not however always common practice”

It sounds very common sense, but what’s common sense is not however always common practice! This is a skill that is gold for life. Making all the social encounters easier and yourself more likable. Maybe not the most straightforward practice for helping in work-life balance is counter-intuitively definitely one of the most powerful ones. Aside from valuable learnings you get for life, about working in teams and building efficiency in them, you also learn better communication, understanding, and respect in the “workplace”. This, in the long run, leads to a powerful work ethic while at the same time building your individual ideal lifestyle.

The balance is in loving what you do!

Life and work are not supposed to be competing, but to work together, to support each other. Part of life is work, but there are also other parts. All these should be working together, forming the life you love. So for the leader, it is a win-win situation to nurture employees, make them love what they do, where they work and give them freedom as well as responsibilities. People are the most important resource a company has, thus they should be empowered every day to learn more, to be more and to have fun in what they do. At the end investing in people is the best long term investment that can be made!

Of course, it is also possible to make good short term profit by exhausting your employees with endless work and unbearable demands, however, that is a sure way to doom your company to death. The values are the best and the most powerful way to build a company culture that is at the same time rigorous, passionate and full of happiness, balanced with other parts of life. Today’s business relationship with customers is all about having strong ethics and values. The customer’s opinion is the difference between losing and winning. And empathy is the power tool for a work-life balance that empowers the company as well as the employees!