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Three Keys: Community, Culture, & Customers

If you put your customers first, an engaged community and enviable culture will keep pace and help a company become a place that your competition will mimic. A place where talented people want to work and prospective investments and clients flock to.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve watched many of the things we stand for in our space become major trends in early stage investing and startup building: entrepreneur-friendly approach, accredited investor rule changes, rolling funds, smaller rounds, democratized angel investing, efficiency/profit minded, operator-first, data-driven, to name a few.

You can differentiate all day. You can be disruptive all day. You can reimagine business models all day. But success is all just based on a simple premise: execution. York IE has a loyal engaged community of followers, is a great place to work that gives employees unlimited rope, offers a legit work hard play hard culture and has the best portfolio of investments and customers you could imagine to support, network and develop relationships with. My partner Joe Raczka always talks about aligned incentives being one of the most important differentiators of our approach. We work with and for our founders. Hard work produces and leads to the three keys of an enviable community, culture and customer base.

Three keys to building an engaged community:

  1. Let it happen naturally and organically. It takes time, be patient.
  2. If you engage them first and continuously, users will be responsive and then reach out to others on your behalf. They’ll do much of your job for you.
  3. Don’t rely on one channel and give users/clients several arenas to engage and spread your mission and purpose.

Three keys to an enviable culture:

  1. Culture needs to be built and evolve from the bottom up. It simply needs to be enabled and supported from the top. Be entirely transparent.
  2. Incentivize, motivate, empower. Autonomy is king.
  3. Don’t say no, EVER, to an employee with an idea. There is good in every idea. It might just need some help.

Three keys to loyal customers: 

  1. Be like emergency room surgeons (always on call) and willing to do whatever it takes for your clients. It’s all about access and putting the customer first. Client Service doesn’t end. 
  2. Be honest, passionate and persistent. Build real relationships.
  3. Ask for support and advocacy. Make sure clients know how important they and their referrals are to you.

We’re always paying attention and learning from other businesses past and present and their styles. Companies like Netflix, Hubspot, Zappos and 37signals are known for how they were founded, operate, and focus on these ongoing priorities. Who else are you seeing doing great things? Be uniquely you and focus on community, culture and customers today and every day moving forward!

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