Company Culture

Streamlining your Startup - Rachel Beider on Small Business Trends


Ensuring your business flows effectively is key to the success of your company. In the first few years of any business, it can be difficult to achieve a new level of efficiency that you are comfortable with, and that helps your operations steadily keep up with demand. That’s why we asked 15 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“How can you successfully streamline operations when there’s so much else to focus on in the first few years of business?


How to Streamline Operations at Your Startup

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Create an Operations Manual and Software

“Streamline your efforts by creating a dynamic manual of operations and by using free management software, such as Podio, to get information out of your head and make it more easily accessible to your growing team. This also helps create generative thinking to problem solve.” ~ Rachel BeiderMassage GreenpointMassage Williamsburg


2. Review Processes Often

“When processes aren’t streamlined, your business will be faced with customer complaints, frustrated employees, mistakes, delays and wasted resources. A business, especially a small one or a startup, can’t afford to not streamline processes. A good place to start is with designating an employee to regularly map and analyze processes to avoid inefficiencies, low productivity and poor customer satisfaction. ” ~ Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker


3. Process, Document, Train

“The only way to build and scale a company is to create replicable processes and document them. Otherwise, employee turnover will lead to massive brain drain and your team will be re-learning from mistakes that have been made before. Ensure the team has access to these documents, and train new employees during onboarding. Teach people that if a process breaks, they need to fix and document the changes. ” ~ Jonathan GassNomad Financial

4. Implement Automation Technology

“You can implement various platforms and tools that automate tasks for you. This maintains a streamlined organization so you don’t add people just to do very basic, yet time-consuming tasks. ” ~ Serenity

5. Make Operations a Priority

“One of your early hires should be a natural operations person, even if that’s not their formal role. What you’re looking for is the type of person that naturally organizes as they go, and if you give them the reins to do that, they will. ” ~ Tim ChavesZipBooks Accounting Software

6. Look for Multifaceted Talent

“Look to bring on talent that can assist in multiple areas or that is willing to learn more skills to do so. This can keep the streamlined effect while allowing you the time to focus on strategy and execution. ” ~ Drew HendricksButtercup


7. Have a Mentor

“Use a mentor to help you focus on the process and operations. It helps to have an expert guide your work and show you what you may not see. ” ~ Murray NewlandsChattyPeople

8. Hire the Right People

“There are a lot of processes you can streamline yourself — but there’s nothing like efficient, hard-working employees to make those processes easier for you. If you’re filling your company with out-of-the-box thinkers who believe in the mission of your company, you’re going to see processes streamlining left and right.” ~ Kevin ConnerBroadbandSearch

9. Focus on Systems Over Strategies

“The first thing is to focus on your systems over your strategies in order to streamline the process. How are you going to track your revenue and what systems pertain to helping you track ROI? Those are the systems that need to be set up first so they can support you during the tough times of your business. Your systems will sustain your business and propel it forward.” ~ Sweta PatelSilicon Valley Startup Marketing

10. Find the Bottleneck and Fix It

“Pick the single biggest bottleneck in your company and start there. If you don’t know what this is, consider your activities and determine whether that activity yields the highest value and makes the best use of your time. If your time is wrapped up in a repetitive task, you can choose to delegate this responsibility, automate parts of the process or systematize it to make it as fluid as possible.” ~ David

11. Take a Granular Approach

“Take a more granular approach and look for ways to streamline the smaller things involved with running a business. Maybe you find a way that your team can get customers taken care of more quickly and efficiently, as one brief example. Then, move on to the next operational point. That usually will give you the time to focus on all of the other items in the first few years.” ~ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

12. Keep Asking What You Don’t Need

“When you keep adding on, whether it’s staff, equipment or any type of tool or system, you’re making things more complicated. Sometimes this is necessary and beneficial, but streamlining requires you to do the opposite. In any process or project, ask what could be cut back and simplified. This often helps you save time and reduce costs. ” ~ Kalin KassabovProTexting

13. Do Constant Research

“Many people have attempted similar business ventures and operations with varying degrees of success. In order to capitalize on this, it’s important to study your peers, rivals and mentors. This is a great way to ascertain what aspects of operations can be streamlined without negative ramifications, almost like a form of A/B testing. If others have attempted similar strategies, learn from them.” ~ Bryce WelkerCPA Exam Guy

14. Start From Day One

“Streamlining and automation is not something you should “start someday,” it is a practice that is best applied when it is implemented from the very beginning and routinely exercised. Streamlining grows increasingly difficult the further you are in your business. Take simple steps to automate your business and make them a routine, you will thank yourself later for starting early in this process.” ~ Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

15. Outsource, Outsource, Outsource

“There will be many things that you’re not an expert in, and whether it’s accounting or IT, work with a consultant or agency that knows what they’re doing. You’ll be much more effective in organizing the operations of your business if you’re able to step back and manage several functions and their relative workflows, as opposed to actually learning about and doing all this work yourself. ” ~ Roger LeeCaptain401


Article on SmallBizTrends

Offsite Ideas to Bring Your Company Together: Rachel Beider in Huffpo


Team bonding is made of more than water-cooler conversations and birthday cake in the break room. Moving these efforts beyond the office walls can help enrich relationships between teammates and foster a true sense of togetherness.

Whether it’s the more traditional retreat or company lunch or a more innovative idea such as an escape room or golf outing, these 12 entrepreneurs have got the right idea when it comes to successful team-building activities.

A. Volunteer Work Together

When our company volunteers together it creates a positive, intimate space for bonding over our shared values and goals. It feels amazing to interact with the community, and we come home feeling great that at the end of the day, we made an impact. - Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

A. Simple, Fun Activities

I try to pick activities where my employees can participate in a competitive activity or sit out the competition and just have fun together — something like a rock climbing wall/bar (seriously, they’re out there) where some can engage in something challenging and some can just kick back and have fun. That way, no one feels any pressure and everyone has a good time. - Kevin Conner, BroadbandSearch

A. Happy Hour

My startup was purchased by a major software design company last year. Fortunately, this came with many perks. Our parent company throws happy hour parties every month with live entertainment, great food and friends and family. This is a great way for the team to meet new people we coordinate with on different marketing strategies and it ultimately brings us closer together. - Kristopher Jones,

A. Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are a fantastic bonding experience for teams. It’s all about teamwork and problem solving, a fantastic combination for team bonding. They’re usually built for a few people, so it depends on the size of your team. - Ben Lang, Spoke

A. Company Retreats

Since we are a fully remote team, each year we host a company retreat. It’s the only time that everyone from the company is together in one location. This year we went to Orlando. We attended workshops, brainstormed and collaborated on new ideas. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Competitive Activities

It could be bowling, kart racing or a 5K race, but if it’s competitive or allows us to compete against each other on a team or individual level, it creates camaraderie and understanding of each other’s strengths. It’s fun and so different than our regular work environment. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Company Lunches

At the end of our first summer, when soliciting feedback from interns during exit interviews, a then-intern suggested we take small groups of interns out to lunch to get to know each intern in an informal setting. We have extended the tradition to employees and at these lunches, we only discuss work-related topics within the context of inside jokes. These lunches build cohesion and are fun for all. - Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco

A. Dream Day

One of the best days my team ever had was when I asked them to make a list of their “dream day” in our community and then we attempted to do as many of the things on the list as possible. We had drive time between activities to be able to talk and we had distributed ownership of the day because ideas came from everyone. - Hugh Weber, Institute of Possibility

A. Camping

Nothing brings teams together like spending 24 hours together having fun. Camping is an inexpensive and highly effective way of bringing teams together. Team members will start building a rapport with each other as a result of spending full days together. Think of how summer camps make long-lasting friendships. Soon, your employees will be writing home to say they don’t want to come back. - Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

A. Activities Fitting Your Culture

Activities that closely fit your company culture are the best. As an outdoor company, we go hiking, skiing, climbing and mountain biking together throughout the year depending on the season. It’s a great way to get out of the office and helps build a fun, enjoyable and authentic team environment. - Brint Markle, Mountain Hub

A. Employee Family Cookouts

We have cookouts with bounce houses and other children’s activities so that our employees can bring their families. We find that when our employees’ families hang out together it grows the bond between them, which leads to a better work environment. Our employees love it as well, because we are providing a fun activity for their kids that they likely wouldn’t be doing without us. - Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct

A. Golf

A competitive round of 18 holes and a few beverages always unites the team. The best part about golf is that there is also a lot time to talk both business and pleasure. Golf also gives the team something to chatter about during the week, and is an occasion we all look forward to. - Chris Gronkowski, Ice Shaker

Article Seen on HuffPo

13 Options For Baking Philanthropy Into Your Corporate Culture: Rachel Beider in HuffPo


Research is beginning to show that charitable giving can be as good for the giver as it is for the recipient. As an enterprise, participating in philanthropic efforts not only gives you an opportunity to serve the community you work with, but also extends that possibility to the members of your team. Here are 13 ways your company can make philanthropy a part of your culture.

1. Volunteer Together

As a mission-driven company, we volunteer together on a monthly basis at events that we care about. We recently collectively decided to partner with Sanctuary for Families, which provides services for women who have experienced domestic violence or sex trafficking. Keeping my employees in the decision-making process for whom we wanted to work with makes them more invested.

- Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

2. Participate in Community Projects

Getting your company involved with community projects and fundraisers is not only great way to network, but it also gives your team an opportunity to see what some of the more challenging issues are within your community. Participating in 5K runs, bike rides or walks can bring awareness to things that your company might be able to provide a solution to.

- Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

3. Donate Your Expertise or Time

A great way to make philanthropy part of company culture without a big effect on the bottom line is to donate your expertise or time. You could find a cause you believe in and look into volunteering opportunities. The best part is that it can be done remotely if necessary. You could offer to write a guest article or maybe provide some assistance to the company in an area you’re well-versed in.

- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Take the Initiative and Volunteer

Having a company volunteer day in alignment with a charity is a great way to give back and spark philanthropic efforts in the company. You can also look for charities that are a good fit to your audience. For example, if you were in the weight-loss industry, aligning with a charity that educates youth on good eating habits would be a great combination.

- Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

5. Let Your Team Lead Your Philanthropic Efforts

Many companies have philanthropic components because it’s good for branding. I recommend treating this like a strategic initiative and bringing everyone in. As the CEO, don’t dictate what organizations to support; let your team’s passion guide you. Schedule regular volunteer days and donations, for example. If it’s genuine, you’ll make a bigger impact and bring more joy to your team.

- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

6. Task Someone to Be Responsible for Charitable Giving

If your organization is large enough to have a social committee, you could reserve a seat for someone who will be responsible for charitable giving. This person becomes the main point of contact for new inquiries from local and national charities, and they can coordinate events, explain how their financial resources will benefit those in need, and rally your team to get engaged.

- David Ciccarelli,

7. Integrate Your Philanthropic Work Into Your Business Mission

Integrating your philanthropic work into your business’s mission will force it to become a part of your culture. An additional incentive for doing so is that so many consumers now are deciding which company to use based on the good they are doing for the world. It’s a win-win.

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- Abhilash Patel,

8. Set the Example

Philanthropy has become part of our company culture through my example as leader. I regularly get involved in community projects and ask local staff to join me. I also support what my remote workers do, and often contribute financially to their fundraisers.

- John Rampton, Due

9. Give Tangible Gifts

Giving tangible philanthropic gifts allows you and your employees to see exactly where the money is going. It is motivating for everyone to see that the money being spent on a new school or orphanage and seeing all the grateful faces. You could even have employees vote on the projects and submit requests as to where the new project should be built and why.

- Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Set Up a Recurring Donation

Find the area where you or your team is passionate and set up a recurring donation to the cause. This small action makes a difference and can create abundance of care outside of the day-to-day work. You can include this in your marketing efforts, as well, however, being genuine in your giving may provide the bigger payoff.

- Nathalie Lussier, AmbitionAlly

11. Establish Quarterly Volunteer Activities

Create a calendar of quarterly volunteer activities that individuals and teams can get involved with during the week on company time or on weekends as paid extra time. This encourages philanthropy and giving to those in need.

- Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

12. Team Up With Your Customers

Communities are often intertwined with businesses and visa versa. This means that many of the issues you care about are likely issues your customers care about, too. To be a part of something bigger and give back to the community, find out what your customers care about or let them know more about the issues you care about. Then join ranks in some way.

- Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC

13. Organize or Participate in Charity Events

The best way to make philanthropy part of the culture is to start working it into the day-to-day by organizing or participating in charity events. If you do enough good as an entire company, it will start to fit into your culture. We launched a monthly charity board game night as a fun event for the community, but it has shaped how we have grown and influenced our culture along the way.

- Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product

Article in HuffPo