The great strengths exhibited by companies that are successful early on can often become their biggest weakness. The processes and free-form culture of a startup, even the people, often don’t scale as a business grows.
3 kinds of change that are important for growth
In the early days, the culture should be an outgrowth of the people, all of them owners.
1. New processes:
While the addition of new processes can seem onerous and cumbersome at first, it ultimately aligns teams and improves accountability. And, process allows for structured growth.
2. A culture of owners:
Culture is an intangible, but very real, part of any business. In the early days, the culture should be an outgrowth of the people, all of them owners. Long hours and a commitment to create something new blurs the lines between work and play.
Activities like decorating desks with balloons on people's birthdays so everyone could wish them well. And planning regular corporate activities like ski trips, bike rides and happy hours to encourage people to get to know one another outside of the four office walls.
These activities cost money, take time away from work and require trust. Yet, they foster a community of peers who work hard, with the organization’s best interest in mind.
3. The right people:
It’s important to realize the difference between start-up staff and seasoned professionals. Like entrepreneurs, start-up folks think creatively. They work with customers on vaguely defined problems and can creatively assemble what’s necessary on a shoestring budget to follow through and deliver.
Seasoned professionals perform horribly in such a setup. Accustomed to well-defined products, processes and structure, these professionals quickly grow frustrated at an early-stage company. That’s why it is important to know when to hire professionals and at what stage of your company’s growth you need to bring in the big guns.
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