Here are 16 things that essential if you are going to see your young start-up flourish into a high growth mid-market tiger:
1. Don’t be alone
The experienced, objective and dispassionate adviser / chairman / non-executive director (mentor) can make for a powerful combination with the passionate yet inexperienced entrepreneur who is not always as objective as is required. It’s someone to talk to and vent your frustrations at – safely.
2. Hire a high calibre senior leadership team
You need one of these if you are serious about growth. Too many founders think they can do it virtually by themselves or employ junior managers and expect director level results. Recruit for greatness.
It is no longer all down to you and if your leadership team is motivated by long term growth in the value of the company then it’s likely they now own part of it too. You have to respect their views and listen to their advice. Expect to be challenged. If you aren’t something is wrong – you have a weak team or you are overbearing. Both are equally dangerous.
4. Learn to lead not manage
This means you have to build a great leadership team and then let them get on with it. Your role as CEO & founder is to provide the direction and uphold the vision and focus – through the ups and downs. Pick the right people and they’ll build a great company for you. Too often, a promising young business is stifled because the founder cannot make the leap from being the nexus of all decisions to leading a team. More of what got you here is not what will get you to where you want to get to. You have to let go and delegate, not over manage.
I trusted my fellow directors 100% that they always had the best interests of Coffee Nation at heart. We had a simple vision and were always aligned. Of course, we didn’t always agree but that is healthy.