Published on August 13th, 2018 | by EditorS0
When Start Ups Grow Up
There are two times of big challenge for start ups. The early days, when a great proportion of businesses fail – this is when you can see who has planned, who’s got really solid backing and the benefit of good experience and who’s relying on a persuasive idea and good luck to carry them through. The other time that’s always risky is the transition from flexible start up to established, corporate business.
That transition is necessary: as your business scales you need to establish structures to ensure you can meet all the demand reliably, and that means hiring more staff, from executives down to customer service staff. It means formalising previously fluid arrangements: having a set refund policy, an invoice structure that’s more solid than simply ‘pay ASAP’, it means having set allocations of holiday and sick days. It also often means injections of funding from people who want to see every box ticked, every T crossed and every I dotted, to ensure they’re on track to see a return on their investment.
This process can be testing: members of staff who’ve been with you from day zero can chafe against this new culture, and there’s a tension between necessary changes and what people can perceive as the ‘heart’ of the company. In general it’s good to have a fair set of rules that apply to everyone, but inevitably some will clash with the new system.
Surviving this is tricky. If you lose established members of staff, you could find vital knowledge and expertise walking out the door without which your business will have a hard time keeping up. If the attraction for customers is your disruptive, start up status, your transition to part of the establishment might turn them off, and you’ll see sales dip.
One way to handle this difficult time with the minimum of disruption is to make use of some of the interim management London hosts. Interim managers aren’t just good at dealing with crises, and don’t just bring them in at the point of change. Working with interim talent throughout the growth of your business can help to put systems in place that help you prepare, so the foundations for your corporate growth are in place, and a part of your business’ story from the start. It doesn’t stop your start up being flexible and responsive, but it does mean people are ready for the future when it comes, and will see the company building on practices it’s already established, not making shocking, wholesale changes.