The early life for many startups can be best described as regimented chaos, as an idea slowly germinated into a business plan, which forms into a small team that can create a minimum viable product.
This is the first major point where the head of a startup, perhaps with the guidance of a lean startup coach, will have to decide whether their idea is viable or whether at this early stage they should cut their losses and return to the drawing board.
Whilst this is the first true test for a startup, possibly the biggest test is not necessarily finding a viable idea, but knowing when and how to expand and scale business operations in a way that does not lead to a terminal loss of capital.
Part of the reason for this is that the tricks used to create a lean startup that is poised for success are often very different to the ones used to successfully scale up. Here are tips to bridge the scalability gap.
No More All-Rounders
When your startup begins, your first hires are going to be all-rounders who believe in your vision as much as you do and are willing to do a bit of everything to get it.
These early hires will be the foundational pillars of your company especially in moments when everyone needs to be able to do everything very quickly.
Once you reach the point of expansion, however, it is time to focus on specialists and prioritise bringing in the best people in particular fields, to work exclusively on getting your startup to the next level.
Get Into Bigger Mindsets Early
Whilst “thinking big” is so common a mantra to be almost cliché, it is a very important component of growing a business effectively. If you try to grow your business with the mindset of a small-revenue startup, you will make decisions that limit growth in the short and medium-term.
Keep The Fun Spirit Even As The Processes Change
Startups are incredibly fun hotbeds of creativity, passion and hard work that doesn’t feel like hard work, and it is important to keep that spirit of enjoying work alive even as the startup metamorphoses into its next state of existence.
Ask employees as regularly as every week how much they are enjoying their work, and if there are any low scores, work with them to adjust their workload and job to ensure the work is done in the most enjoyable way possible for them.
This can help avoid burnout, which reduces the risk of skill drain if vital early employees leave.