The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and e-mail lessons. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.
How do you know if your team is really ready for a growth spurt? What can you do to prepare them?
Hire slowly and focus on culture and processes first. Weekly team meetings, regular performance reviews and efficient communications tools are a great place to start. You don’t have to enforce the rigidity of a 1,000-person company, but preparing for life as a 10-to 100-person company is a lot easier to implement when you’re at two to five and ready to grow. — Neil Thanedar, LabDoor
One of my favorite entrepreneurial books is “The E-Myth.” It explains that most small companies fail because they hire to expand without mapping out the specific duties each new team member will be assigned to fulfill within the business. If you map out the roles needed in detail, your hiring decisions will be much stronger. — Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
A business isn’t really a business if you’re overly dependent on any single employee. If you want to ensure you’re ready to grow, make sure workloads are properly systemized so new hires can easily pick up the job, and current team members can also take on new responsibilities in case someone else calls in sick for a day. — Danny Wong, Blank Label
You can easily scale by building in automation tools or technology that allows your customers/users to do more of the work on the platform. For instance, at brandbuddee we’re launching a campaign-creation tool that will allow all the brands to create their own campaigns, rather than have our team members do it. All we have to do is answer any questions or point them to an FAQ. — Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee
I have found the most powerful tool in the leadership arsenal is to ask the question in a powerful and empowering way to drive the answer you want. Then enlist the help of those around you to succeed at the task they asked for. — Bryan J. Zaslow, JBCStyle
When things are running like a machine, and the process is seamless, those are good indications that your team is ready for a growth spurt. To prepare and aid them, keep them as informed as possible throughout the whole growth process and put business systems in place that will be scalable and therefore consistent before and after the transition. This will make the change as smooth as possible. — Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize
I think a team’s ability to grow is defined by its belief in the company’s potential and vision. Is your team happy and content with where they are? If so, they’re not ready. Or are they hungry to see the company expand and willing to stomach the discomfort that comes with big growth? The best way to prepare the team is to consistently share the vision and express you excitement about the future. — Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent
I am the queen of analogies. I find analogies to be the best way to communicate to others. For most startup employees this is their first go around at a new company and thus, they have nothing to compare it to. Uncertainty makes people feel uneasy. Likening what you are doing, or the growth spurt you’re around to go through, helps others to have a benchmark of what they should be feeling or doing. — Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak
No one is truly prepared to do genius-level work because it happens in a terrifying place between current and future capabilities. It’s better to prepare your team to adapt, collaborate and troubleshoot through projects that expand comfort zones than to prepare them to do things they feel ready for. Through frequent problem solving, training and an encouraging culture, your team will feel ready. — Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing
When major changes happen within a team, it is always important to redefine roles and expectations. Knowing how you would like your workforce to work together is fine and dandy, but it won’t happen if you don’t guide and facilitate interaction and cohesion. — Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media
The book “Work the System” provided a strong framework for preparing our team for growth. Once our team could identify tasks, build processes and properly delegate, I knew we were ready to lean into a growth spurt. We looked to identify which processes were scalable, replaced poor processes and even eliminated them when possible. — Brian Curliss, MailLift