10 things every start-up leader must do


As a global serial entrepreneur, consultant, educator and author, Tom McKaskill admits the road to building a million dollar business is a hard one.



McKaskill, who built and sold several successful businesses before becoming one of Australia’s foremost experts on entrepreneurism, has just written a new eBook called Make Millions From Your Business: 101 Tips For Success which is available from Amazon’s Kindle store.


 He says that while building a start-up remains a huge challenge, it is one of the best ways to become wealthy.


“What is clearly obvious is that people who get involved in early stage firms have a much higher chance of gaining significant wealth. This not only applies to the founding entrepreneur but to those who actively support them during the early phase of the venture.


“There are many examples of successful entrepreneurial ventures where tens and hundreds of employees and investors secured significant wealth.”


“Even in smaller enterprises, several individuals can walk away with multi millions. The decision is yours – but don’t hesitate. This is a great opportunity to change your life forever.”


Here are 10 of Tom’s top tips the start-up leaders should follow to ensure they get on the path to a million-dollar business.


1. Hire the best

Good people are hard to find and often difficult to hold onto. But good people are effective. They get the job done, often in half the time. They need less supervision and often take initiative.


They don’t leave a mess behind them which wastes your own time fixing. They are good to work with as they get on with the job. They lift the productivity of those around them and make being in business worthwhile.


On the other hand, there are people who you put up with. They scrape through, never doing the job really the way you would like, requiring a lot of hand holding and leaving a few problems in their wake.


You often wonder why you put up with them but you accept that they are better than no one. In the end, you compromise your business because you end up with accepting mediocrity.


In hindsight, the best people are worth having even if they only stay for a short period.


2. Share the wealth


Entrepreneurs create organisations which, if they are successful, are only so because of the combined efforts of all the employees. Rewarding those who contributed is a great way to say thanks. It is also a motivating force for all those who turn up every day to make it happen.


The values which underpin an organisation says a lot about the founders and much about the way in which the organisation works. There is a big difference between working for “you” and working for “us”.


You need to ask yourself what you would like to happen if times were tough – will everyone pull together or will people desert you for the security of a larger company?


What reputation do you want as an entrepreneur? Remember that the successful ones will often have more than one venture. Imagine how much easier it will be to recruit the right people when you have a reputation for sharing the wealth.


3. Have a consistent message

Have you ever taken a good hard look at your marketing and sales literature and asked the questions, “Who are we?”, “What do we do?” and “Who are our customers?”. You will be surprised how confusing the messages are. Different people over time make up their own version of the corporate message, creating a very confusing picture.


If your own people can’t get the message right, imagine how difficult it is for your customers, suppliers, service providers and recruiters.


Consider the potential customers – what do they see as they review your marketing material?


You need to move to a state where the messages are consistent in all your published material but also that your stakeholders all have the same view of what you do.


4. Create interesting and challenging jobs

Good people are hard to find and even harder to keep. They usually have no trouble getting a new job and securing the remuneration they want. However, they are not always just motivated by salary, although it is important to pay the market rate. What they often want are interesting things to do and assignments which challenge them.


We neglect at our peril the aspirations of our staff to better themselves or to create for themselves an environment where they enjoy coming to work.


While we don’t have to create a 100% interesting and challenging environment, we need to have some portion of the job in this mode.


People who are challenged and enjoy the work are more productive, more contented with their situation and tend to mix better with other employees. They tend to stay longer, are less demanding in their conditions and are easier to work with.


5. Reward exceptional performance

The way in which you reward and sanction behaviour in your business will determine the way in which staff act. You motivate them according to what you encourage and discourage. If you want exceptional performance, you have to show by your actions that you value that form of behaviour.


Individuals who contribute to the health, profitability and resilience of the business through their decisions, actions and behaviour are worth keeping and certainly worth recognising in some way.


Whether that recognition is “employee of the month”, or a mention in the company newsletter or a special “thank you” from the president, it is worth doing.


However, don’t neglect financial rewards for exceptional contributions or time off or a paid vacation. Perhaps even ask them what would work for them – it might be an education allowance, an opportunity to work on a special project or the chance to go to an industry conference.


Your actions will convey to others in the firm the type of behaviour and contribution which the firm values. By rewarding exceptional performance you will encourage others to make the effort.

Since 2010 StartupSmart has been Australia’s no.1 publication for the startup community and those interested in the startup movement globally. Publishing news, information and advice daily, and placing itself squarely at the centre of the government’s national innovation agenda, StartupSmart is a leading participant in the momentum that surrounds the world’s focus on technology, creativity and entrepreneurialism.