6 Mistakes Growing Companies Routinely Make
Focus. Focus. Focus.
The best business leaders and managers understand the importance of true focus. When scaling a company, you’ll have limited resources and an almost infinite landscape of opportunity staring your team down on a daily basis. It’s easy to allow distractions to fester within your organization and attempt to get growth on track by going after the latest shiny object.
This common mistake occurs often and can be a result of a leadership team not fully understanding what the true drivers of a business are (more on that below). Lack of focus can be detrimental across almost every function within a growing tech company—but often the hardest hit is going to be your Sales and Marketing teams, your Product and Engineering teams, and often your Enablement and Customer Success teams.
Keep the feedback loop front of mind, your ear on the customers, and let the market dictate where to focus strategically. Use data-driven management to focus on developing plans that nurture the wants and needs of your market and ideal customer profile.
Not understanding what really drives your business.
Another common mistake, which often falls on the executive team, is not truly understanding what the economic levers and drivers of a business truly are. Instead of relying on the facts and data, leaders are too often wooed into investing time, money, and other resources that don’t make any economic or business sense. With the tools and technology most growing companies have in place today, there is no room for gut decisions—so, slow down, validate that your current product/market fit is accurate, and invest in scaling out processes around that.
Did you know: Peoplelogic.ai connects to tools like Slack, Zoom, GitHub, GitLab, GSuite, Office 365, Salesforce, HubSpot, and so many more tools to automatically analyze the data and highlight risks to your business and opportunities for growth? See all of our integrations.
Hiring and Promoting the WRONG people.
This is often one of the tougher conversations to have with yourself. Is the team that helped me build this project from the ground up really the team that enables us as an organization to scale to the next level, and then again, and again? Like we said, it’s a tough internal conversation to have, but one that is necessary.
The needs, demands, roles, and responsibilities within a company drastically change throughout the evolution of growth. Founders typically fall victim to expressed loyalty, and promote from within to plug in their original team members hoping that they’ll succeed in these new roles. Make sure you understand the true professional motivations of your team members and if you do believe they are right for a new role, make sure you invest in the applicable training and tools.
As your company continues to grow, you’ll also need to elevate your level of specialized expertise. It’s important to identify which functions you’ll need to build out—for instance, leaders with a proven track record in scaling out sales, marketing, product, customer success, people operations, and engineering teams will likely be key hires. It’s important to keep that in mind and have open, candid conversations with your team of today so they can mesh and learn the skills required to become the team of tomorrow—or be open to bringing in an expert and learning from them.
Assuming your strategy never needs to be refined.
Rigidity in the modern business landscape is a recipe for disaster. You’ve got to build a culture of agility and flexibility—and live out those core values as often as needed. Building a successful company is an iterative process—that’s why most companies product and services change dramatically from ideation and inception, to product/market fit and scalable growth. The best organizations are the ones that can build and measure what their target market wants, needs, and what adds value.
Keep changing until your target market(s) and initial customers are happy. Oh, and watch out for things in the unknown—I mean who on earth predicted a global pandemic this past year—just think how that’s completely changed how we run businesses for ever.
Ignoring the facts.
There are so many ways this mistake can become a growth killer. From driving employee attrition, to increasing customer churn, and everything in between— blatantly ignoring the facts can be a company killer.
It’s so easy when everyone is so busy, you’ve got a number of customers that serve as evangelists, and your partners seem through the roof with the ample opportunity your product provides to live and lead by illusion.
Companies with higher levels of openness and transparency tend to dodge this mistake more often. The reason? If you foster a culture of honesty, integrity, and open feedback—your colleagues will be the first to bring potential challenges and risks out to the open for discussion.
If you can’t provide a culture where hard truths can be brought to the forefront and discussed, watch out. Ignoring the facts, even if they are small, will kickoff the timer on a ticking time bomb.
Not learning from our own mistakes, or the mistakes of others.
First off, mistakes happen. We’re only human and you should cherish allowing yourself and your colleagues to make mistakes. The key however is to ensure you learn from both the mistakes made internal to your organization and the mistakes made externally by others. As a leader, if you keep making the same silly mistakes over and over, not only are you going to get growth off course, you’re going to start making your team question their sanity and eventually leave.
Celebrate mistakes and clearly communicate what can be learned from them. The reality is to be successful you, and your team members, are going to have to fail every now and again. And that’s OK! You’d always rather give it a shot than never trying at all.
Resource: Doing Right By Your Data
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