As a business advisor, I have too often seen technical entrepreneurs get a product or service off the ground with ease, but then struggle mightily when their business reaches a couple of million in annual sales, or the employee count grows beyond a handful. It’s at this stage that the job changes from creative and tactical to managerial and strategic. Many don’t survive the change.
In fact, I believe the majority of true entrepreneurs are not interested in this new role, and jump ship quickly by hiring an experienced CEO or merging with another company, to start their next entrepreneurial effort. For example, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has started over 400 companies, from record labels to space travel, so for him the joy is clearly in the startup.
Bill Gates, on the other hand, spent most of his career building Microsoft to a multi-billion dollar company, so he made the transition from startup to growth company. Both he and Branson are billionaires, so there is no one right way for entrepreneurs to succeed. Management of a growing company is a learnable skill, and in my view it starts with a focus on the following key principles:
Moving from startup mode to a sustainable business requires an overt effort on the part of an entrepreneur – it doesn’t happen automatically. The alternative is to lose the business or get pushed out by investors or Board of Directors, after a painful crisis or business growth failure.
Great entrepreneurs actually have much in common with great managers, including a focus on results and a focus on execution. In addition the best of both groups maintain a focus on customers, love to learn new things, and are always thinking. Anyone who can put all these attributes to work can survive and prosper in any environment. Just decide where you want to fit, and go for it.
This article was written by Martin Zwilling from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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