Successfully managing a start-up or a young business requires an entrepreneur to wear many hats. The roles are many and the challenges are great. Usually, long hours are required of entrepreneurs during the start-up and growth phases of businesses in order to ensure their success.
One of the biggest pitfalls for an entrepreneur is running a business without a plan. Following a plan helps decision making, goal-setting, and hiring. It saves the entrepreneur from wasting time, money and energy…all very scarce resources for a young company. Once a plan is written, it needs to become a living document….a document that can help guide the entrepreneur and one that can be revisited and revised as a business grows. Sharing the plan with staff gives staff the opportunity to provide ideas that can help improve the business.
Setting up processes is a great way to avoid pitfalls. Processes should be set up to standardize quality, product cost, customer service, and business financials. Along with setting up processes, an entrepreneur should document processes, functions and company operations. This will prevent problems for the business if a key employee leaves, for example. Finally, key success measurements should be put in place.
Critical challenges to growing a company include knowing when and who to hire, how to hire smart and how to clearly define roles and responsibilities in written job descriptions. A business typically operates very smoothly when everyone knows what is expected of them.
Building a solid management team is essential. It is important to hire team members with complementary skills in order to balance all aspects of the business. Hiring the right managers and effectively and frequently communicating with them will help build a successful management team.
Often businesses succeed or fail based on the contacts an entrepreneur has. Entrepreneurs should make a concerted effort to get to know and become known by others. There are many opportunities to formally and informally network. When an entrepreneur builds a good network, his or her chances are increased of knowing the right person who can provide a valuable resource to the business at the right time.