Moving Beyond Startup Mode: 5 Tips for Building a Solid Infrastructure

 

Matthew Toren | Young Entrepreneur

Now here’s a problem you either have or wish you had: Your startup is growing so fast that you need to hire more employees to keep up… stat.

But this is a process you shouldn’t rush. The reason? Adding people is a big step and it’s important to take stock and lay out a plan for how your company will be organized before hiring anyone else. Otherwise, the strain could, in time, cause sever problems that you may not be able to overcome.

Here are five ways for prepping your company’s infrastructure for growth:

1. Consider your current employees. You’ll need to first evaluate your current players and decide where they will fit in your growing organization. If you’re smart, you’ve already communicated their potential slots to them as part of the hiring process. If not, you may be facing the challenge of telling your star salesperson that someone else will be your future sales manager. Still, preparation even late in the game will help smooth things over once you start adding staffers.

2. Get organized. Lay out an organization chart for the next phase of growth, and the phase after that. Include who will report directly to you and who reports to them. Try very hard to avoid those dotted lines that connect people to multiple other people. The cleaner you can make the connections the less likely you are to run into conflicts over time.

3. Set clearly-defined roles. Role ambiguity can lead to problems faster than you can fix them. Consultants who specialize in conflicts among departments and teams find that almost every time an employee conflict arises, unclear roles are the cause. Tidy up this element up front. Consider job descriptions, starting by having every current employee write down lists of tasks and responsibilities. If there’s crossover or confusion, sit down with each employee or both of them together — ensuring the best arrangement of duties. Warning: this may not be fun. People tend to want to keep the juicy stuff and hand off the mindless tasks. It’s your job to balance that for every employee.

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