The skills that are needed to start your enterprise are not the same that are required for scaling your business.
As an entrepreneur, in the first stage of your enterprise, you multitask heavily. You run product development, strategy, marketing, customer service, and even finance.
Overheads are relatively low since you do the work of many people. But as your organization grows, there is a small window to train middle managers before the knowledge gap between you and your direct reports becomes too wide to bridge.
Doing everything yourself is just not sustainable. Competent hands are required to deliver on core tasks, so you are then free to develop new products and markets.
With that in mind, if you are currently scaling your business, here are some things to note.
1. Mentoring alone does not produce managers.
Deliberate training, skills development, standard operating procedures, and key performance indices (KPIs) are essential. While many entrepreneurs spend years mentoring young staff, they do not actually teach them management skills in a structured manner. There is no training plan or career path. No process documents to follow or clear measurable KPIs.
Because processes are amorphous in such fledgling enterprises, only self-motivated employees end up absorbing the mentoring or prioritizing their own training, via personal development, books and courses. Some of those staff eventually leave for more structured companies or opportunities.
2. Do not eat your seed before harvest time.
Successful companies typically have a time of plenty when a lot of money is being made. That is a golden time to hire the right staff for your core team. If you miss this opportunity and a season of drought follows, you will no longer be able to afford a structure without outside funding.
3. You cannot be insular.
Read widely, attend conferences and even join international fellowships. Seek new information related to your business as well as better ways of doing things.
You don’t know it all and could quickly become outdated in your organizational methods.
If you do not have internal funds to build a core team or to develop systems, there are options. But first, come to terms with the reality that you can’t bootstrap indefinitely. You will hospitalize yourself or your existing team if you continue to expand without enough hands.
If your company wishes to remain independent, then you must capitalize with funds from existing directors or from sales. Sara Blakely of Spanx did this until she built a multi-million dollar empire which she eventually sold. The founders of MailChimp did the same.
If you do not mind giving away some equity or control, then you can capitalize through debt or venture funding. However, please do not raise funds haphazardly. Develop a detailed plan and budget for what is required in the first few years, and then select the cheapest source of funds.
5. Do not hesitate to bring in experts.
You can’t know what you do not know you should know. Yes, there are things entrepreneurs grasp intuitively or by common sense. But what experts do – whether in operations, finance, or legal – is to develop replicable systems that can scale.
Common sense and entrepreneurial spirit are good. But processes are good too. As you grow, you must move beyond doing things by rule of thumb to using documented methodologies. This reduces key man risk and empowers the rank and file.
Are you currently thinking of scaling your business? Then I hope this article helps you.
For more, please read Building an Institution? Two Things to ConsiderThe skills that are needed to start your enterprise are not the same that are required for scaling your business. Click To Tweet