Technology is a fast-paced business. It’s grow quickly or bust, and there’s always pressure to be constantly ahead of yourself. How do you more than quadruple your staff in a year without capsizing the ship?
As the CTO and co-founder of Dealstruck, I am on top of the tech, but I also have to be an effective leader for the sake of both our team and our customers. Here’s what my team did to set ourselves up for success.
Listen to future you.
At the end of the first year, you’ll look back and see that it wouldn’t have killed you to slow down and wait. Yes you have to keep the momentum and grow the team in order to grow the product, but it’s more important to hire well than to hire now.
Behave as if you have 50 employees from day one.
Every new startup begins with an intimate group. The goal is clear, the energy is high, and communication is seamless because there are so few personalities in the room. Everyone feels important and essential to accomplishing the collective goal. It’s all very warm and fuzzy.
But grow you must! And before you do, make sure you have a plan in place to support a large staff in a way that maintains that warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s very easy to lose voices in a big crowd, and it’s much harder to implement a new system late in the game once everyone has developed habits.
Don’t wait until you need a bigger boat.
You don’t have to come up with the system on your own. There are plenty of processes that someone else has tried and tested.
Ethan Senturia, the CEO and co-founder of Dealstruck, holds weekly town hall meetings with the whole staff. Everyone has the opportunity to speak, ask questions, and be taken seriously. New faces are always welcome, and no issue is too small. This maintains the warm and fuzzies in a genuine, empowering way.
But you still have to keep all those happy, empowered employees functioning efficiently. Here at Dealstruck, we started using Salesforce early on. It keeps us working at our best with its established processes and procedures. I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to make that change after a large group of people had already grown accustomed to a certain way of doing things.
Security is always a priority.
You’ve hired employees you trust, but the more people you have under your roof, the more hands are touching your customers’ data. More hands mean a larger margin for error, and worst case, more opportunities for a bad apple to slip through the cracks and do damage. Your customers need to know that you take measures to keep their information safe, so have those measures in place when the team is still small.
Oh captain, my captain.
Remember, you are the leader. You are the boss. You can’t wait to act like the boss until it’s inevitable – you have to be the boss from the beginning. If people see that you have a plan, that your responses are consistent and you have everything under control, you’ll set yourself up for much smoother sailing as your crew grows.