As an entrepreneur, day’s and evenings are filled with to do’s. We compare ourselves with others and our targets seems pretty clear. Yet we struggle to reach those targets in the time we foresee. Keeping up with a growing lists of company tasks and complexities is challenging, time consuming and frustrating at times.
Working on a project, I some time pause to dream a bit about the outcome. It’s part of my innovation process. It’s during these dreams that I lists all to do’s that I need to deliver upon. Emailing my self makes me remember the needed deliverables.
The odd 25-year almost immediate success unicorn entrepreneur is a truly rare breed. Warren Buffert did not become a billionaire until he was in his 50th.
Entrepreneurship is about freedom, exploring and growing. Yet our day’s and evenings are filled with to do’s and an endless growing list of tasks to be delivered. A growing business means growing company complexities.
Comparing oneself as an entrepreneur with our co-workers, the employees, is sometimes daunting. Most entrepreneurs like there employees to be equally committed and equally result oriented, yet frustration is more common.
As a business grow, people need to grow with the company. The founder and early stage employees are often specialized on certain tasks, but new tasks multiples as the business is growing. The complexities increase rapidly.
Entrepreneurs believe employees are part of their problem
With a stake in the business the founder’s is naturally motivated to explore and continuously learn how to solve the next problem. An entrepreneur measures him self how exited he is getting out of his bed every morning thinking of his next problem to solve.
Most employee like to do a good job. The difference between an entrepreneur and an employee is the level of depth and width in defining a good job. Employees are usually focused on the challenge in front of them whereas the entrepreneur has a continues 360-future focus.
With growing company complexity, the entrepreneur adds problems to solve and focus on delivering solutions. One by one. Employees solve their current problems in front of them. At the end of the day most employees return to their second life with family and friends while the entrepreneur’s mindset remains focused on business challenges. Also after the family dinner.
There is a huge difference in two seemingly similar sayings: Entrepreneurs talks about entrepreneurships and has a large freedom to explore and take risks. Employees talks about business acumen, focusing on their current deliverables.
It is not unusual for entrepreneurs to become frustrated about employees not being as committed and as dedicated as the founder himself. Most employees like to do a good job, but they aren’t the founder and they don’t live and breed the company 24/7. Acknowledging that fact would solve a lot of frustration with increasing and growing company complexity.
Entrepreneurs live and breed the business. Employees checks-out for family and friends after office hour.
Growing company complexity challenge the founder
Statistics show that most businesses remain small, regardless of the founder’s ambition. Statistics also show that the number one problem that prevent a successful growth is the founder himself. Growing company complexities is something that emerges gradually.
A growing company is changing with different maturity stages. Complexity increases. The company quickly risk outgrowing the founder himself as the daily leader of a growing organization.
The minimum viable product and the first five family and friend’s sales will soon transform into a process-oriented sales and production machine. Here come the first stages of a growing company’s complexities that requires certain structure and managerial skills to organize. A very different skillset and need of interest needed from being the early stage startup founder.
Feeding a growing beast with continues new sales prospects and closings becomes the next level ballgame. All with whom the relationship journey’s needs to start from scratch. Growing marketing, sales, customer success, production, distribution, quality and financial control tasks quickly emerge as complexed and time-consuming.
Keeping up with growing company tasks and complexities beyond emailing oneself with to do’s is challenging. Founder’s becoming the organizational bottleneck is the main reason why most businesses fail to grow and to meet the targets set by the founder’s themself. Companies trying to outgrow their founders never succeed, hence stop growing.
To some entrepreneurs, that bottleneck comes early, to other’s they encounter those bottlenecks regularly but manage to learn and overcome those challenges. Mastering a growing company’s growing complexities is what makes a business growth.
Let go to grow
To most action-oriented founders, a growing company’s complexity becomes a personal leadership challenge. Hiring young co-workers and retaining the odd consultant is manageable at first. Tasks are listed and addressed. Life is simple.
Soon frustration is growing. These employees seem less committed and less responsible than the founder, and true is that. They are employees and not founders of the business. A growing company complexity with an increasing organization needs to be addressed as a leadership challenge.
Some founders are very much product oriented. Some of them also have only limited previous sales exposure to large customers purchase routines and internal politics. Soon sales take so much longer time than those initial five relationship sales.
Other founders master both the product development tasks and staying in multiple close dialogues with potential customers but may fail as a daily leader beyond being the order-giving manager.
Entrepreneurship is an exploration and learning process but leadership fits badly with learning on the fly once the number of employees starts to growth. With a handful or two of employees, entrepreneurs can get away with being inspiring and present. As the number of employees grow the entrepreneur becomes less accessible and less present in the day to day doing of things.
Here is the core of the leadership challenge founders are faced with: Staying close to products and customers and being present and close with all employees in their daily work. People like to be seen. It only shows in different ways.
Leaders goes beyond managing employees. A founder leading other leaders and managers create leverage in the organization and battle a growing company’s complexity. But the founder’s needs to let go to grow. To give direction, to delegate, to trust and to follow-up.
Keeping up with growing company complexity
Founders get frustrated by employees not being as self-propelled, as exploring and as risk taking as the founders themself. But, how can they? Employees are hired, rewarded and fostered to do a good job, not to take entrepreneurial risks and decisions. They are hired to solve the problems in front of them.
Organization is a core competence of successful entrepreneurs, beyond staying close to the customers, developing a truly scalable business model and knowing the products in and out. It is the ability to structure, to process orient the workflow, to hire, to delegate and to follow-up.
Entrepreneurs live and breed the business being the founders. Employees check-out after office hour for family and friends.
A growing company’s complexity is very much linked to the growing number of to do’s. Emailing oneself is not the solution for a growing business but organizing and leadership is. The trick is not to lose the entrepreneurship in the quest for business acumen.
Let go to grow is the key to grow successfully. Giving direction, follow-up and giving feedback is expected. The sooner the entrepreneur learns his specific leadership formula, the sooner complexities are conquered.