All posts in Startups

5 Reasons Why You Should Eliminate Chairs From Team Meetings

5 Reasons Why You Should Eliminate Chairs From Team Meetings

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lexie Lu. Her opinions are her own.

Take a quick walk around a corporate office and you’ll likely see some people standing at their desks working where a chair used to be. But it doesn’t stop there. You may also see groups of people standing around having a meeting. No need for a conference room with a large table.

What’s with all the standing? Are there truly benefits to it? Do standing meetings, also known as standups, check-ins or huddles, help teams accomplish more, or are they a corporate fad to accompany the latest set of fashionable buzzwords? Read More…

17 Qualities of the Perfect Early Startup Hire

17 Qualities of the Perfect Early Startup Hire

When you’re first starting out in a new venture it can be thrilling. Adrenaline-filled. Nerve-wracking. Insomnia-inducing. And that’s if all goes well!

When you get to the point of needing to hire someone beyond your founding team, this process can also be filled with anxiety. Read More…

What Type of Office is Right for Your Business? [Infographic]

What Type of Office is Right for Your Business? [Infographic]

We’ve written about different types of office spaces previously. I know that I’ve definitely seen more than my fair share of office spaces over the years.

From downright ugly call centres modelled on a ‘battery hen cage’ setups, to the most chic and über cool advertising agencies and design studios complete with beanbags, boardroom tables suspended from the ceiling by industrial-strength chains, and meeting rooms separated by back-lit, glass-brick aquariums.

Of course, there are some offices with a gorgeous European-style foyer, but when you take a peak behind the granite reception desk, waterfall and built-in flat screens, all you’ll find are boring cubicles with minimal natural light, and a team of miserable people.

So what type of office is right for your business?

If your business is growing, you need to think about what is a suitable office space for you and your team. Should you invest in a conventional office space, or would a remote office suit your needs better?

At RecruitLoop, many of our distributed team work remotely and our ‘HQ’ is located inside a very cool co-working space in the middle of San Francisco. Talk about having the best of both worlds – our own private team space as well as the chance to schmooze with members from other fast-growing companies.

Think about the pros and cons of having your own office space. Sure many of us have grand visions of having a building with our company name lit up in lights every night. But between that and working at the kitchen table, there are literally hundreds of different options.

Our friends at UK-based Make it Cheaper have put together an awesome Infographic outlining how although choosing an office space can seem daunting, selecting the right one will ensure your business continues to succeed.

Read More…

How to Improve Your Brainstorming Sessions

How to Improve Your Brainstorming Sessions [Infographic]

I had a primary school teacher who was really into clichés and metaphors.

Great minds think alike“, she’d say when a group of us would solve some complicated maths problem. But then when I suggested that a larger group work together on a team project, she reminded me that “too many cooks spoil the broth“!

Mrs. Porter clearly couldn’t find a happy medium.

Primary school’s one thing, but solving problems in a work context or coming up with fresh ideas in a team environment is something else altogether. In an ideal situation the great minds can come together without spoiling the broth!

I know I’ve been a part of some awesome ‘think tanks’ throughout my career, but I’ve also been in some brainstorming situations where egos were bruised, prima donnas ruled the stage, and where we found ourselves going absolutely nowhere fast. A complete waste of time and energy.

Is there are art to the perfect brainstorming session? Our friends at WriteMyEssays have created a schmick Infographic highlighting the many ways you can make your brain work harder and your next team brainstorming session more organised.

Who knows, these tips could even help you develop your next ground breaking idea while letting you have some fun along the way. Read More…

4 Ways Your Office Design Can Help Entice Prospective Hires

4 Ways Your Office Design Can Help Entice Prospective Hires

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Stefan Bhagwandin from Share Your Office. His opinions are his own.

Finding talent is only half the battle, as every recruiter knows. Sifting through resumes and online portfolios is challenging as it is, but when you do find a candidate that you’d hire on the spot, you can bet they’ve got a few other offers on the back burner.

How can you stand out?

Salaries are what they are, and you certainly can’t drain all of your funding on hiring. What makes your startup a more enticing option than every other company that offers the same pay and perks?

Company culture is a big factor; in many cases, it’s the deciding factor. But culture is abstract: you can’t prove to a candidate in a single interview that your company is a fulfilling place to work.

Fortunately for us, there’s an oft-overlooked factor that instantly (and wordlessly) broadcasts your company culture: office design.

People can’t help but judge books by their covers. Every recruit you bring into the office is going to use your interior design to judge what kind of culture your company has. Luckily, there are a few common factors that startup employees and independent workers look for in an office. Add these factors to your value proposition, and you’ll have a new hire in no time. Read More…

How To Stay Connected While Working Remotely

How To Stay Connected While Working Remotely [Infographic]

Today, the best talent can be located anywhere in the world. The days are long gone of needing to build your business in one central location or having all your team sitting in the office together. Pods of teams separated by partitions, whiteboards and conference rooms are fast becoming a thing of the past.

With all the communication tools and technology available today, time differences and the once all too infamous ‘tyranny of distance’ are practically non-existent.

There is absolutely nothing stopping you from building a dream team that crosses borders, time zones and language barriers. Read More…

How to Retain and Motivate Your Scaling Team

How to retain and motivate your team

Many years ago my boss told me that “Leadership is the art of keeping all the people who hate you away from the ones who haven’t made up their minds yet“.

I’ve never forgotten that. And I’ll admit there have been many occasions throughout my career when I have looked around at my teams wondering which camp certain individuals fell into. Trust me that’s not a happy place to be in!

Looking back on your own career, who would you consider to be a great leader? Who has made a real difference to you in your professional life? Who has mentored or guided you? Who has influenced your beliefs and professional values? Who showed faith in you, when perhaps others didn’t?

The same boss I mentioned above (someone I would definitely consider to be a great leader since he certainly ticked most of the boxes here) also looked me in the eye once and said, “People don’t leave companies, Paul. They leave leaders“. It was around the time there had been a few resignations in one of my offices and I remember taking that statement incredibly personally.

Running a business, leading a team of people, or building a startup as an entrepreneur can sometimes be a pretty lonely (not to mention pretty damn scary) place. Having been there myself, I know first hand what the isolation feels like; what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night in a panic convinced you have no idea what you’re doing; or wondering why anyone would really want to be led by you.

For me it wasn’t always a case of waking up in the middle of the night in a panic. My problem was that sometimes I just wouldn’t be able to fall asleep in the first place with all the crazy thoughts whizzing around in my head wondering if I really could motivate and hold on to the amazingly talented group of people I had working with me.

If you’re having thoughts even remotely like mine, rest assured you are not alone. Just remember though, there’s bound to be someone else out there with a scarier job.

Last week, I hosted a webinar on how to retain and motivate your team. During the hour I shared some of the advice various managers of mine had shared with me over the years as well as some of my own tips that have helped me throughout the many years I have looked after teams all around the world.

I thought I would include a few of these tips in this blog post.


1. You need to be able to articulate the story

What’s your plan? What’s the vision for the business? What are your expectations?

Whether you are talking to your team as a group, to an individual team member during a weekly 1:1 catch up, to your advisors, investors or customers,  you must have clarity around the story. The words you use, how you deliver your message, and the consistency with which you drive that message home will make all the difference to ensuring everyone is on the same page.

You want everyone on board the same train traveling in the same direction.

2. Create a climate of trust

As their leader, you are responsible for the environment you create. I’m not talking about culture here – I’m talking about the actual environment.

This starts with you having a positive mental attitude … always.

If you look angry, all it takes is just one person believing you are angry at them, and this can ruin the day for everyone.

You want your team to look up to you; to respect you; and to trust you. But adhering to the “tough love” or “tough empathy” philosophy will also help you in the long run.

3. Tell them everything or tell them nothing at all

You will never be accused of over communicating. I can assure you that nobody will resign from your company because they felt you told them too much!

The danger in only telling them half the story though, is that they will fill in the gaps and create their own situation in their head. This perception will quickly become their reality and that’s a downward spiral in the making.

So if you told your team that funding was around the corner and the potential investor pulls out, don’t keep that information from the team assuming they will forget what you told them in the first place. If you tell the team you’re making an offer to an amazing candidate and the candidate backs out, bring the team up to speed straight away.

Too many things are just swept under the carpet on the assumption that people don’t need to know the bad news.

That assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

4. It’s OK to reveal your vulnerability

Even the most successful leaders like Branson, Jobs, Gates or Zuckerberg are not invincible.

It’s OK to speak from the heart. You know what? Sometimes it’s even OK to ask for help or admit you don’t know the answer to a particular question. Sure that takes courage, but when your team sees you being courageous, that’s another big tick on the trust factor.

5. It’s all about we. It’s not all about me

Do you want to be a boss? Or do you want to be a leader?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this particular question. But if your team hears you only use the words “I” or “me” they may start to lose faith in you pretty quickly.

It comes back to the trust and credibility piece. When they hear you say “we” and “us” they will believe in the vision more and, in turn, will feel more inspired to perform.

6. Show them you are genuinely interested

Do you know what your team members’ interests are outside of work? Are they in a local basketball team? Do they go to a weekly stand up comedy writing class? Perhaps one of them loves cooking? Do you know if one of your team members is a competitive yachtsman? Perhaps an avid photographer or oil colour artist?

You want your team members to know you have an interest in them that goes beyond purely revenue generation or contribution to the bottom line.

Where possible have a daily ‘connect’ with everyone. Not a meeting … but just a (what I like to call a) ‘personal moment’.

Try it! It feels good.

7. Know what motivates them individually and as a team

The only way to know what motivates your team is to ask them! You’ll be surprised. What you might think pushes their buttons may in fact be as far from the truth as possible.

They will all have intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivators. Some will thrive on having a carrot dangled with promises of financial reward; others will thrive on spontaneous recognition or a simple email praising them for a job well done.

Of course if you want to hear more, the full recording of the webinar appears below.

How To Maintain Standards And Culture While Building Remote Teams

How To Maintain Standards And Culture While Building Remote Teams


Throughout my career prior to RecruitLoop, I had been personally responsible for building teams in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Hong Kong – as well as being part of a leadership team opening offices and growing a recruitment business across Asia Pacific and Europe.

The idea of “building a culture across cultures” is one that I have been familiar with for many years. Not to mention all the challenges that come with building remote teams, satellite offices, and businesses in foreign countries. And by ‘foreign’, I mean in international markets outside of a company’s global headquarters. Read More…

10 Tips for Resolving Workplace Conflict and Increasing Productivity

10 Tips for Resolving Workplace Conflict and Increasing Productivity


Editors Note: This is a guest post written by David Ehrenberg, CEO of Early Growth Financial Services. His opinions are his own. This post originally appeared on the Early Growth Financial Services blog.

It doesn’t matter how robust the company wellness program is or how relaxing the nap room feels. When two or more employees are stuck in a negative situation, the entire business suffers. Read More…