In the seed and startup stages of business, chances are you’re forced to do almost everything from a leadership perspective.
You might have juniors in your team who are able to do things 60% as well as you, but the majority of the day-to-day management probably still rests on your shoulders.
If you're launching a marketing campaign, you're the one leading it.
If you’re building a new sales process, you're the one driving it.
If you’re building a new product or service for your customers, you're the one figuring out how to do it.
In all these situations, the common denominator is that you are the HOW person – you’re always thinking to yourself, “How can I do this?”
But if you want your business to grow you need to shift this paradigm and start thinking ‘WHO can do this?’
If you insist on remaining the ‘how’ person, there will always be a glass ceiling preventing you and your business from growing past a certain point, because no matter how much you try and get out of yourself personally, you’re only human. There’s only so much you can do each day.
Instead you should be thinking: How do I bring on exceptional leaders? And how do I induct them, train them and help them develop to a point where they can perform these functions better than I can?
In this article, I’ll share my key frameworks and tips to enable you to do just this.
Follow these frameworks, and you’ll be able to gradually elevate yourself out of the day-to-day and become the conductor of the orchestra, instead of trying to play every instrument yourself.
THE FIVE ESSENTIAL BUSINESS FUNCTIONS
Before you dive into recruiting the first leader in your business, it’s crucial to have an understanding of the different functions of your business, so that you can gradually recruit people to oversee each area.
At a high-level every business does five things:
- Marketing – This is where we generate interest and attention.
- Sales – This is where we turn that interest and attention in an actual sale and bring cash through the door.
- Product – Now we’ve made the sale it’s time to actually deliver it. Product development, delivery and customer journey all fall under this umbrella.
- Operations – As we go up the growth curve, operations becomes a function and a department in and of itself. We've marketed the product, we've sold it, we're delivering it, and now it’s time to operationalise internally so that the engine is running as seamlessly as possible.
- Finance – Now there’s only one core thing left to do – count and manage the money.
Your aim as a business owner should be to gradually recruit leaders into your business, who can take commercial responsibility, and accountability for delivering on the that function every week, and every month.
WHO SHOULD YOU RECRUIT FIRST?
Building a leadership team isn’t something that will just happen overnight, or even in a month. It takes time to get to the point where you can hire someone in each function outlined above.
So the question is, who do you recruit first?
The key here it to look at the biggest opportunities in your business as well as the biggest challenges.
For each business that might be different.
If you’ve launched a product and you’re selling such a high volume that you simply can’t keep up with production demand, you might be best hiring someone to head up operations with a deep expertise in supply chain management.
If you think your operations are up to scratch and your customers are happy, but you’re not growing at the rate you want, it might be time to bring in a Head of Marketing.
Or if you’re generating a lot of leads, but just don’t seem to able to convert them, maybe it’s time to bring in a Sales Director to systemise that process and ensure you’re capitalising on every opportunity.
Ideally, as each new leader joins your team, you’ll see a growth in revenue that should enable you to gradually expand and recruit more team members, so that you get to a point where you have a leader in each of the core functions of your business.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A LEADER?
In business, you don’t know what you don’t know. When hiring an executive the aim should always be to bring on people who know MORE than you in their particular function. Remember though, this doesn’t give you the excuse to sit back and let them just do their thing without managing and leading them. No matter how many talented sailors on board a ship, there always needs to be a captain steering it and keeping it on track.
Hunger to Execute
When you’re doing between $1 an $20 million you’re not at the point yet where you can afford to have executives who just sit in board meetings, draw up strategies and tell people what to do. At this stage of the game you need to bring on people who have a hunger (not just a willingness) to execute and get their hands dirty.
Ability to Think Strategically
While they need to be able to execute, your executive team also needs to have the ability to think strategically and plan for the long-term. Without this skillset you run the risk of hiring a team of people who get so caught up in the whirlwind of the day-to-day that they don’t actually impact results long-term. You want people who executive effectively and with intention, as opposed to just keeping busy.
So there you have it, my tips and frameworks for starting your journey towards elevating yourself out of the day-to-day.
I dive into this topic in more detail in my recent Knowledge Drop, check out the video below for more.
OR if you’re on the go, listen via Podcast here.