Founding and growing an industry-transforming company is probably one of the hardest things anyone could ever do, and it takes a great CEO to produce a successful startup. Successful startups go through three broad phases as they scale; first, creating a product that users love; second, build a company to maximize opportunity that the product has surfaced; and third, is to harvest the profits of the core business to invest in transformative new product ideas.
So you finally discovered more demand for your product than your small team can handle, what are the critical tasks you should do next?
- Creating Purpose and Alignment
In business speak, the CEO’s job is to define the Mission (purpose), Strategy (direction), and Metrics (pace and performance). These three elements provide the essential context that a growing company needs to be able to perform.
- Recruit the BEST Leadership Team
Recruiting senior executives takes an extraordinary amount of time. If you are doing it for the first time, meet lots of people so that you can develop good judgment about the skills, experiences, and personality traits that you need – or perhaps, find a good executive search firm. It will cost you an arm and a leg, but if it helps you hire the right person, it’s worth every penny.
- Nurturing Company Culture
Fundamentally, culture is defined by how people treat one another in a company. Unlike the other tasks listed above, creating a good culture is not uniquely the CEO’s job. It is everyone’s responsibility. CEOs should instead, encourage co-founders and early employees to work together to codify a set of values and behavioral norms that feel authentic and aspirational to everyone.
Despite the delegation – you should still be very busy. If you don’t find yourself busy, then you are not in the right track, so it’s time to consult with your mentor. If you don’t have a mentor, then you should be busy finding one. Great leaders don’t make excuses!