When I hear entrepreneurs say they wear many hats, I sympathize, remembering my days as a CEO who also took customer support calls. Now, as a venture capitalist, I focus on entrepreneurs’ paths from chief-cook-and-bottle-washer to the head of a company that’s rapidly scaling. Most of the time, entrepreneurs don’t have a mental framework to support this evolution.
The process of scaling your company generally means doing all the things necessary to go from small to big. That may mean changing the revenue model, employee management, technology, operational processes, or customer support. Every industry and business model is different.
One particular challenge relating to scale is common to growth businesses in any industry: expanding beyond the founder or the founding team. Luckily, there is a template for achieving this.
Let’s start with the realization that there are only four basic functions needed to propel any organization: Judgment, Ideas, Glue, and Execution. I call this the JIGE framework (with apologies to Will Smith, it's pronounced "jiggy").
To scale a business, each of these functions has to evolve from the founders to a senior team of non-founders. That team then has to replicate this JIGE framework throughout the organization.
Of course, the founders may actually be able to do all these functions better than anyone else, at least while the company is small (all entrepreneurs should be nodding about now). I’m not saying you should abdicate power. Rather, parcel out parts of the JIGE you’re least good at, and give yourself a chance to scale.
There may be more than four jobs on a team, but there are only four core functions. Everyone else should be a “do-er” who extends these functions into specific areas of execution. If an entrepreneur is lucky enough to have a growing market and great product, the core JIGE functions are the building blocks that scale any company so it can win.