Running a start up in its early weeks and months is a very different proposition to finding yourself sitting at the head of the table as the CEO of an established, mature company. It calls for different skills, different strengths, even different interests, and it’s not a mystery for the ages that so many entrepreneurs tend to move on to start new ventures rather than stick around when their earlier projects start to grow beyond them.
Even if you are a serial entrepreneur, you still need to think about how your company’s going to cope with the growth from lean, specialised start up into corporate behemoth. You might start with as few as six on the team, all fanatically focussed on getting your product to market so it can find an audience, but early on you need to build a structure that will see it grow successfully into a much larger operation, with dozens if not hundreds of employees, administrated and bolstered by HR personnel, protected by on-staff lawyers, and appropriate management hierarchies to ensure everyone’s doing their best work, and no one is swamped with decision making way over, or under their comfort level. It doesn’t make sense for a junior manager to be making decisions that affect the future of the company and play with budgets running into the millions when what they’re good at is getting results out of an eight person team. Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to force a VP or Exec to directly manage a small customer service team when they could be deploying their experience at a higher level.
One of the most important things you can do is form a relationship early on with some UK executive search firms, partnering with one to deal with all your hiring needs. As your association continues they’ll get to know your needs better and better so they’ll be ideally placed to help your business get the executives in place it needs to transition effectively in a stable, long running concern.
It’s forming partnerships like this early on that will help your business grow without losing its character – that partnership becomes part of the identity while it’s still a start up and means that even as it’s providing candidates for a business with very different needs in subsequent months and years, they’re still entrenched in the values that started that business off on the path to success so long ago.