Effective managementEntrepreneurial ambition & growth

5 Ways to Ease Your Company’s Growing Pains

An interesting article by INC on adolescent businesses includes the following guidance.  I’ve just extracted just a relevant element of the article, so please refer to the full article (linked here) for the full insight.

Surviving your company’s adolescence means making some changes. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Recognize that management is a skill

Evernote’s Phil Libin observes that, in startups, managing is viewed as a less important activity when people with real skills are working. As Libin has relied on professional man­agers to scale his company, “I’ve realized there is a lot of wisdom in things I used to roll my eyes at,” he says.

2. Hire a rock star COO

It makes sense for young companies to emphasize product development and sales over operations, says author Robert Sher. But in adolescence, it’s important to hire early–and support loudly–a COO who loves operations and loathes sloppiness. “Customers have to be sure you can deliver,” says Sher.

3. Get comfortable saying no

“It’s tempting during adolescence to keep taking any job that comes your way,” says Highpoint Global founder Ben Lanius. But when you draw firm limits, he adds, “you are respected more by your customers–and it gives employees a really good sense of who you are.”

4. Be ruthlessly focused on repeating yourself

Startups are project-based, explains Princeton professor Derek Lidow. But new projects can be an unreliable route to real growth. “You have got to get out of that mode of doing everything differently,” he says, “and turn to repetitive sets of tasks performed by people that become more and more expert in them.”

5. Understand that it’s not do or die

If you lack a clear strategy for traversing “no man’s land,” there’s nothing wrong with staying put. Says author Doug Tatum: “It is perfectly legal, ethical, and common sense for you to stay small–and make money.”