Carol Pearson | Featured Contributor
Increasingly, I’m working with entrepreneurs (or founders) who have achieved success in the start-up phase of their business. They’ve created the business idea, given birth, nursed it and now it’s time to gently loosen their hold.
If you are an entrepreneur with a growing business eventually it will be time to put infrastructure in place: resources, processes and systems, to ensure that your creation can grow and develop steadily and successfully in line with your vision.
The reality is that there are many stages of growth of a business, however for brevity here we’ll compare the Start Up and Established phases and focus on three key things you need to do differently as your business grows, and three things that need to continue to do.
Three things to do differently as your business grows:
IN A START-UP BUSINESS
IN AN ESTABLISHED BUSINESS
1. CREATE A VISION
You develop a clear on the vision for your company and the values that are important to you, and they drive your decisions.
1. SHARE YOUR VISION
You communicate your vision and values to your team and get their buy-in and support. You set the example and help the team act in alignment with your vision. As you, the Founder, spend less time on day-to-day activities it may get increasingly difficult to maintain your employees’ connection and engagement with the original founding vision and values of the business. These require significant attention from you to keep them in place.
2. LEAD & MOTIVATE YOURSELF
You are motivated by your own vision and the challenging goals you establish for yourself. You are self-disciplined, optimistic, enthusiastic and set high standards.
2. LEAD AND MOTIVATE OTHERS
You set the direction for your team, clarifying roles and responsibilities, and then give them space and accountability to do their work. Regular, open communication will encourage involvement and inclusion and creates a positive environment. As the team grows, you may not see people in person every day so keeping a personal connection is difficult. Team members may start to feel more detached from what they originally joined. The role of your key team members is now to engage, inspire, motivate, people in the same way that you did in early days.
3. BE HANDS ON
You are practical, resourceful and hands on, doing most tasks yourself.
3. DELEGATE TO OTHERS
You can no longer do everything yourself, it’s time to hire people who fit your company culture to get things done. You need to develop management and internal systems to ensure work is done to standard, and learn to empower and trust your team to deliver. Jumping back into the day-to-day activities can be confusing and disruptive for the team.
Three things to continue:
Some things never change when running a business and whether you’re in a start-up or an established business these 3 elements need continuous attention:
RIGOROUS FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
Keeping your focus on the key financial indicators is essential for any business, regardless of the stage or scale. Indicators are different for each business but will include sales, profitability, cash flow, receivables and remuneration.
Listening to the needs and wants of your customers as well as their feedback is a never-ending priority. Delivering a product or service that your customer values and is willing to pay for repeatedly is essential to the success of your business.
ETHICS AND ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE.
From day one, keeping commitments and running an ethical business must be a priority. Integrity, honesty and fairness are non-negotiable if you want to grow your business successfully.
Being an entrepreneur/founder of a business is an huge challenge. It’s important for you to acknowledge and use your natural talents and strengths. These are often decisiveness, creativity, resourcefulness and action orientation. Working in your strengths zone is positive, motivating and creates energy and so spend your time doing what you’re best at. A successful entrepreneur will know when it’s time to get support in areas which are outside their strengths rather than getting bogged down in those areas.
Where are you in the evolution of your business? Still in start-up? Or getting established and building your team? Either way, it’s an exciting time. Good luck!