What is Your Startup Culture? Learn From Lovesac.

lovesac logoRecently I had the pleasure to attend the opening of the new offices of Lovesac, the national furniture company founded by Branson challenge winner Shawn Nelson. (backstory: Their new HQ is just around the corner from the Stamford Innovation Center.

Shawn is a charming and passionate under-40 founder and his enthusiasm for the company may only be outmatched by his love for his employees, past and present. As witness to one of the most elegant, thoughtful, spontaneous and downright funky corporate parties I’ve ever attended, I can attest that Shawn’s employees love Shawn and Lovesac with equal intensity.

Pulling the whole thing together is Lovesac’s CEO Nancy Shalek, an experienced exec who matches Shawn’s enthusiasm and vision with a strong ability to manage and execute and a clear vision for the future.

In “magic quadrant” terms, the best companies in any category have strong “completeness of vision,” and strong “ability to execute.” When you see the deep respect and affection between Shawn and Nancy and the team, and see the beautiful furniture they produce, you see the personification of what it takes to create a company that sits in that magical upper right quadrant.

Even if you are a solo entrepreneur or a consultant you can display your own culture and vision and your ability to execute. Here’s a list of 4 simple things you can do to create your own success story:

  • Be present – commit to attending business, networking, food and arts events in your community. Go to events where the people you want to meet are going to be – these events might not feature the content you are looking for all the time, but the people you meet could change your life.  You might even want to attend our #buzzword holiday party here at SIC on 12/4.
  • Be helpful – ask people what they are looking for or what interests them. You are much more likely to get a dialog going.  Who knows where a real conversation on any topic can lead? So much better than asking a stranger for a favor.
  • Be approachable – include your e-mail address and phone number on EVERY e-mail you send. If you are looking to grow your practice or your startup, you need to commit to being available. And if you are in sales or biz dev and you don’t have your phone number and e-mail in the signature of every e-mail you send, you need to really think about your approach — or your career.
  • Be thankful and show it — a timely text or e-mail to someone who helped you in any way can help you get future favors.  Disregarding this courtesy is a big mistake.

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