Like many entrepreneurs, you're probably fully focused on managing your business's growth--bringing on more investors, connecting with strategic partners, or going full throttle on driving sales. But have
you taken the time to evolve your management strategy as your business grows? These tweaks to your approach are key to making sure your company doesn't become a dinosaur.
Say "no" and say it graciously.
Chances are, the list of requests you get daily is expanding. Even if each request requires just 15 minutes, that can easily consume a significant chunk of your time. Every nonessential request (as in nonessential to your company’s growth) has to be delegated or turned down. But being ruthless in protecting your time can be done politely. It takes no more time to say "no" with tact.
Cut to the chase.
As your company expands, so too does the complexity of issues you juggle. I am a big believer in total transparency with my staff. I don't try to spare them from stress, or sugarcoat the need for them to work harder. They get the authentic me. It's an efficient way to manage, and it builds morale. Your staff will respond to the fact that you respect and value them enough to be completely honest. That may not turn up as a line-item asset on your balance sheet, but it will definitely help drive your financial success.
Stay ready to pivot.
The added people and processes that propel a growing business can lead to a culture of entrenched practices. And that can rob a young company of its edge: the ability and foresight to pivot when circumstances change. My company, LearnVest, raised a fresh $30 million this year. We could have used that money to do more of what we were doing. But my job as CEO is to make sure we consider alternatives. That $30 million was better used to finance new opportunities, like our institutional business, LearnVest at Work.
Manage your talent.
Hiring smart and motivated people is just the first step. The next is making sure you've got all that energy and brainpower working as seamlessly as possible to transform the business you have today into the one you envision having three or five years from now. That may require rethinking your org chart. This year, I created a new VP position, head of talent. It's a strategic planning job. That’s because our company has two distinct sides: the folks who produce, manage, and deliver our products, and the technology team, which builds and maintains the systems that make us hum. But we measure ourselves on three core metrics: growth of our client base, delivery of our service, and customer success. We’re now looking into how we might realign our staff on the basis of functions required to maximize these metrics.
Acknowledge that it's not easy.
As CEO, you are the face of the company. There are times when cheerleading is called for. But not every day. Running a business is hard; your employees feel both the exhilaration of working at a startup and the demands and long hours that come with it. If you're building a disruptive business, as we are at LearnVest, the challenges are magnified. Take a step back and remind yourself and your staff that you're aiming high for something you all believe in. It can help relieve some of the pressure of those everyday challenges. And then it’s time to get back to work.