Few things in life are as rewarding as watching your dream grow from an idea to a functional startup, and then into a successful company. Getting there is hard, and it’s almost never an overnight process – building a healthy business can take years of late nights and long weekends. But for most entrepreneurs, the excitement is short-lived – once you expand out of the initial startup phase, you’ll quickly find yourself facing new challenges that you’ve never had to deal with before.
Here are just a few of the common issues that startups need to address once they begin to grow:
Expanding Your Team – As the founder, you’ve probably gotten accustomed to doing everything and anything it takes to keep your business going. But as your startup continues to grow, you’re going to need a team of professionals to help. In most cases, this should begin with hiring a C-suite of leaders with significant knowledge and experience in their respective fields. And since you’re already thinking about the future, this may be a smart time to begin considering internal career development programs for meeting your future leadership needs.
Shifting Your Thinking – Even with a support team of well-qualified C-level executives, CEO’s of rapidly growing startups often have trouble shifting their mindset from manager to leader. While you’re ultimately responsible for the day-to-day operations of your company, most of your time should now be spent on strategic planning and forward-thinking. When faced with a task, decide if it would be the most effective use of your time. If not, delegate it to someone else and limit your involvement to following up on the results.
Outsourcing Responsibilities – One downside that comes with increased growth are increased responsibilities. As a small startup with modest revenue and a limited number of employees, you may have taken care of things like accounting and human resources internally. But now that you’re growing, those same areas of your business are going to become exponentially more complex. At some point you’ll need to sit down and decide whether it makes more sense to continue these departments in-house or to outsource them and focus on building your business.
Assessing Your Office Space Needs – A lot goes into choosing the right office space for a new startup, and that decision only gets more complicated once you start to see growth. There’s a fine line between leasing enough space to grow into over the next couple of years, and paying more than you can afford for space you don’t really need in the meantime. Also, as a growing company trying to attract top talent, you need to be conscious of whether the space you’re looking at will help or hinder that goal. And last but not least, you should ensure that whatever building you’re considering has the infrastructure to provide the reliable high-speed connectivity that your business needs to survive.
Pushing for Continued Improvement – Your startup may be growing, but that doesn’t mean you’ve found the secret for long-term success. It takes hard work and dedication to build a $10 million company, but it takes a commitment and continued improvement to build it into a $100 million behemoth. Too often, leaders of growing companies make the mistake of assuming that since what they’ve done so far has worked, that it will keep working going forward. But to take your business to the next level, you need to refuse to settle for good enough and always strive to improve.
Building a company from the ground up takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s an amazing feeling when you finally begin to see some real growth. But transitioning out of the “small startup” phase means facing a whole new set of challenges, and as a successful leader you need to be ready to meet them head-on or risk damaging the brand you’ve worked so hard to establish.