As your business grows, how do you transform, mature, and grow from a start-up entrepreneur to the leader of your company?
An entrepreneur by nature is an idea person – usually a person of adventure who is quick to take on a new opportunity. That new idea or new way of doing something is very appealing to an entrepreneur. It is usually the character quality necessary to start a business.
As you idea takes traction, your company is in legitimate start-up mode and things are wild. You wear many hats in your business. Then with time, hard effort, and extreme blessings, your start-up gets some momentum and the company starts to grow.
That entrepreneur described moments ago – the freewheeling, adventurous, idea monger – is now in charge of a company, not just an idea! But wait, this same person who is most likely great at creating a unique selling proposition (USP) or spin up a wonderful marketing idea into a business is now responsible for growing and scaling a company.
Most entrepreneurs are not currently equipped for this change in their company. As an ever-changing and growing company matures, so too must the entrepreneur/founder go through a transformation from owner/creator/implementer to leader and coach of the team.
So how do you get there? As mentioned above the owner/creator is the idea person behind the creative information or product. An entrepreneur has to realize that in order to be a successful business owner, he or she must realize that entrepreneurship is a continuous learning process along the journey. With the growth of your business, you must acknowledge that you reach a point that you can no longer can control everything. Therefore you have to trust others in the company, and you have to engage people in something meaningful. It’s more than a job. It’s a personal transformation.
A business grows in stages. I have learned over time and trial that there is a natural growth cycle to a company. You as the entrepreneur, to truly grow a successful business, must transition from an owner to a manager. Then you must transition from manager to leader and team coach.
In that process, the entrepreneur most often needs to adopt character qualities that conflict with the very makeup of a the adventurous do-it-yourself mentality that started the business in the first place. That is, you must learn to delegate and trust. During this transformation process, an entrepreneur starts as a control freak… Yes I said it. It’s true. It’s what makes us successful in the first place. But the transition to a manager who trusts in his team is the next step. While not natural, it’s necessary in a growing and successful company. Finally, the manager must mature into a leader and coach of the team. For all of this to be possible, the entrepreneur must be able to take that first step into delegation and trust.
Once you gain traction as an idea, service or product you must have the ability to adapt with the growth of your business. Staying in the mindset of the owner and not embracing the manager role will ultimately slow and stifle the successful growth of any company. A successful entrepreneur understands that starting a business is simply just the beginning.
During the phase of managing the company you have to learn how to acquire and properly manage a team of people. Yes, you have to hire people. When you are a small company, the first or second person added to the team may be easier to recruit and manage. But as the business grows, the process of hiring and leading becomes extremely different.
At every major revenue level of increase in your business, you must upgrade your people and resources. And the processes for managing and leading at $3 million aren’t the same as the people and processes you need at $30 million.
Wait a minute… I started a company that was set out to add value, make me money, and have fun. I didn’t sign up for managing people, processes, shareholders, and expenses. But a good business grows, and in order to be a successful company you must grow too!
Over time I realized you either need to acquire the talent in people on your team or finds ways to outsource and partner up with the right people and resources. Both approaches require the owner/manager to transform into the leader/coach of the organization.
You can do this. A great business deserves to grow. A great business is adding value to the world and will need to be nurtured and matured. I have learned that all potentially great businesses make it or not. And the major factor that impacts its ability to be great is the transformation of the entrepreneur.
So you do not need to be great at recruiting, hiring, business process, organization, operations, human resources, employee benefits, accounting, analytics, and business process. But you do need to either develop your skills to lead these areas or bring people into your organization that help you lead and grow the company.
Earlier in my career, I could have truly benefited from this advice. You do not have to do it alone. Growing your team is magical if you have the right perspective. And your team does not have to be in your building. In today’s business world, outsourcing and partnerships on services are easier than ever. We have learned that outsourcing certain areas of our business, depending on the type of business you are, allows you to stay focused on the area you add the most value and allow your expert partnerships to help in those certain areas of your company.
So if you have a products business, like a health supplement company. You may have a great message and product, but this does not mean you suddenly have to be great at logistics and fulfillment. There are excellent businesses that excel in business process outsourcing (BPO) for packing and fulfillment of your products.
In most businesses there are primary services that are universal to all small businesses, and I have learned that you do not have to do it alone. For example, human resources and employee management – having a team does not mean you have to worry about the payroll, benefits, taxes and other employee details. You can partner up with a good company to do this for you.
And in our world, accounting and analytics, which are critical to running any business, is often the last thing addressed in a growing company! Having an internal accounting team at any stage of a small business can be expensive in multiple ways. First, the increased payroll of the accounting team and second, the qualifications of that team in your company.
We have learned that daily statistics, analytics, and accounting are what make or break a company. So the classic move by an entrepreneur is to do this portion themselves or ignore this part of the company. Usually both approaches are detrimental to the business.
Successful Companies grow. The community of customers prove that by wanting your product or service. Don’t hold your value back by not growing with your business. You do not have to do this alone. Learn to delegate and trust! And if your team is not ready internally, then partner up with good companies that can take this journey with you.
Vinnie Fisher, Co-Founder and Chairman, Fully Accountable
P.S. Come see us at FullyAccountable.com. We are a business services company helping small business succeed.
P.P.S. If this was helpful, please comment and share! We care about the growth and maturity of your small business.