Friday, August 12, 2022

Eight things to prepare for as your company approaches the 50-employee barrier

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

For many entrepreneurs, a growing business is a successful business. But there is much more to it than simple growth as a measure of success. A quality company culture, happy and satisfied employees and seamless processes are all factors that contribute to a healthy business – and they can all be negatively affected by the growth of your business.

When your business is small, you have a greater ability to solve and prevent problems that may arise. As your business grows, that becomes less true. Below is a panel of Council for Young Entrepreneurs leaders list some common problems you’re likely to encounter as your company approaches the 50-employee barrier, and explain how and why you should prepare for them.

1. Losing That Personal Connection

As your business grows, one thing to prepare for (and develop plans to avoid) is the potential to lose that personal bond between the team. The bigger a company gets, the easier it is to lose that personal connection that helps employees feel valued and connected to the company’s mission and allows management to support their teams effectively. So as you bring in more employees, it’s important to continue to have individual check-ins and team meetings, leaving time to discuss non-project topics. Recognize employees’ hard work, celebrate individual and team successes, and maintain an “open-door” conversation policy that lets employees know they can always come to you for help. – Diana Goodwin, Market box

2. Information Silos

As we hit the 50-person mark, I noticed our teams inadvertently started building information silos, which isn’t efficient or practical for long-term growth. These silos left certain groups uninformed, leading to confusion within the company. My solution was to encourage each team to document their processes and keep a list of changes and updates. Everyone in the company has access to these documents via the cloud. Sharing information in this way led to exciting breakthroughs and helped us go from 50 to 200 employees in a few years. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

3. The inability to support a growing team

A growing team has growing needs. We learned that very early in our own company. The more people you add to your team, the harder it becomes to support them and help each one grow. It also becomes much more difficult to maintain the corporate culture, because everyone brings their own atmosphere and their own problems. So while it’s always exciting to expand your business, make sure you’re prepared for a lot of turbulence and have the capacity and resources to manage it. – Solomon Thimotheus, OneIMS

4. Sloppy Processes and Culture

There are a few things to prepare for as your business grows. One of the main problems is the lack of supervision. Larger companies tend to get sloppy as they grow, so you need to have sound systems in place to make sure every employee is doing their job as intended and working on the right things. Next, you need to start thinking about the company culture. Do we have a good corporate culture or not? If we do, how can we keep it that way as we grow? How can people work well together? How can we create one if we don’t have a good corporate culture? These are just some of the questions to consider when growing. – Candice Georgiadis, digital day

5. New Management Needs

You will have to change how you think about human resource management. There is a specific type of manager that is better suited for dynamic startup environments. Then there are people who deal better with large-scale companies and multi-layered organizations. It requires a different set of organizational skills and structure, while in early leadership you may value creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and an agile approach. – Andy Karuzac, NachoNacho

6. Inefficient software and tools

Once your team has more than 50 employees, review your software and remote work tools to ensure they can grow with your growing business. In many cases, the tools entrepreneurs buy when they start their business become less efficient as more employees are hired. For example, your time tracking software may cover up to 50 employees. You need to upgrade or choose another tool to make everything run smoothly. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Complex communication lines

As a company grows and more employees are added, the number of communication lines grows exponentially. For example, with one employee there are zero communication lines. With five employees, there are 10 lines of communication. At 50, there are 1,225 lines of communication. It is therefore no surprise that one would expect greater complexity in coordination and alignment (on tasks, the mission and other things) as the company reaches 50 employees and more. Jeff Bezos famously tries to combat this with the “two pizza team rule,” which states that no team can be so big that they can’t be fed by two pizzas. It combats the exponential complexity in communication and coordination by modulating teams into units within which communication and coordination are much more manageable. – Akshar Bonu, The custom move

8. The Possible Need to Resign

Probably the hardest part is to accept that you may not be the best leader for this type of organization and then find a replacement. Many entrepreneurs like to build new projects, but don’t see them getting bigger. They just don’t know how to run such a business. It is therefore important for the success of your company that you admit that you are no longer the right match. Stay on the board, but give up your CEO position. Find the right person to lead your business into the future. – Alexandru Stan, tekpon

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