Growing, Maturing and Getting Organized

Growing, Maturing and Getting Organized 776 415 Marsh Williams

Growing, Maturing and Getting Organized

I’ve been through so many start-ups it’s hard to count, but there is a point in each one where members of the team have to make a change in their mindset and for me it’s always hard.

Starting out everyone knows everything that’s going on in the company all of the time. Whether by water cooler or meeting, it’s pretty easy to keep a proverbial finger on the pulse of what’s happening. In addition, everyone helps in almost every area. People pitching when they have time and do what they can to serve the clients, build the team and grow the company. As a friend of mine used to say, “everyone is a generalist.”

But one day it happens

Someone finds out about something “after the fact.” This is the point where things are moving quickly, the organization is growing and all of sudden people find out there is more going on than they know about. This is an inflection point in the life of a company and for the individuals who find themselves there. Now what?

In my experience there are two ways to respond, and to be honest, I’ve done both over my career.

Two Options

One way is to start taking it personally, to feel you’re being excluded because you’re not in the loop on everything. In my experience once this begins it can get very ugly. The second way to deal with this is to realize that it’s just growth. As the organization gets bigger and the projects get bigger and the clients get bigger, things will naturally change and the process of communications becomes much more complicated. As a result, it’s very hard to keep everyone involved with everything that is going on. There is also a point where it’s incredibly inefficient for everyone to be involved in everything.

So as we’ve been wrestling with this issue within Shout Out, here’s what we’ve decided to do: get organized, and get organized in a way that let’s everyone have access to pretty much any information they want and everything they need. Wow, this sounds so simple, but it’s not. We’ve been working on this for several months and looking for a way to communicate efficiently internally and externally with all of the involved parties.

So what do you do?

Well we think we have found a solution. About a year ago we started working with a tool named Asana. We tried it for a little while then set it aside. About four months ago we picked it up again and it is helping to transform the way we work, communicate and manage everything we’re doing. We can now let anyone see what is going on with any project, internal and external, and know who is working on what. Everyone on the team also has the ability to jump in and help on a project if they have any extra capacity, just by looking at the open “to-do” items and seeing if there is something they can pick up.

Asana is a solid tool in which we’re investing a lot of time and effort. This is not a case where the magical-silver-bullet, golden-unicorn tool saves the day. Asana is a tool and that’s it. What we’re investing in is learning how to use the tool and developing processes that surround our use of Asana. Without processes a tool will just sit there and stare at you. Or even worse, it can drag you down a rabbit hole and waste a lot of your time.

Over the coming months we’re going to provide updates on our little experiment and get perspectives from all of the team members about how it is working. In addition, we will do our damnedest to provide guides on any best practices we come up with in case you want to tag a long or are already using Asana.


And by the way…there is no connection at all with Asana, other than the fact we’re a client of theirs. The reason we share all of this is that in our experience all companies are looking for good tools and process to help them grow, mature and get organized.

Photo Credit: reynermedia

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Business Basics: Why They Matter

Business Basics: Why They Matter 880 461 Shout Out Studio

We work with a variety of different clients, and within each company each individual we work with is unique. When working with an outside partner though there are a few basics to constantly be working to improve and build on so that your relationship with each other has the most potential to grow. These might seem very basic, but in the cluster of everyday life they are most often forgotten, yet the most important:

Staying Organized

Being organized within your own company will do wonders when you work directly with other companies. Utilizing tools such as Asana, Box and social media schedules, as well as personal calendars can help significantly. When a client or even members within your own company ask for information, images, files, or reports they can be easily accessed. Another benefit is if the company shares the file, you don’t have to ask for it. It’s at your fingertips.


Whether you communicate through email, Skype, phone calls or even sending a quick text – nothing is more important than responsive communication. If there are any issues or problems they should be addressed immediately through whichever method your partner is most comfortable using. An important aspect of communication that is often ignored in business is follow up. If a company or individual reaches out to you with a question or a comment, it’s a good idea to get back to them as quickly as you can. Consider scheduling a task reminder to follow up if you know you’re not available to respond in the moment. That way you don’t forget items that need addressed, and it allows you time to provide an appropriate response when you can.

Sticking To A Timeline

Sure this seems elementary, but it really can play a significant role in your co-working relationship. Collaborate with your team and client to come up with goals, and create a timeline to stick to as a benchmark. It’ll help keep both sides of the party on point for what needs to be done and when. Be transparent with your partner about the past week’s activities and planned initiatives ahead. You can’t assume they know what you’re working on, and this also can creates an opportunity for conversation should priorities need to shift. Lastly, start the work day with a list of goals. You’ll find monitoring daily will help you see that they’re completed by the end of the week, or help you determine what needs to take priority the following.

Image via Guy Sie

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