Top 4 issues to watch out for as a growing Startup

Andrew Steele and Reed Snyder are part of Activant Capital venture firm in New York. They are exploring the European startup scene, and will be speakers at Startup Extreme 12-14th of June.

Here’s their take on the key issues founders face when transitioning to growth stages and expanding internationally.

1. Wanting to grow at all costs

Many CEOs drive the company based on gut instinct or growth at all costs. This means that they aren’t orientated towards goals and strategy that can strategically help them hit the next phase. This often bleeds into poor hygiene on board reporting and KPIs, which can waste time, significantly limit growth, and lead to issues fundraising.

2. Forgetting about culture when hiring  

In the early stages, many CEOs just want to fill seats and hire for experience in the sector and not their culture, model or strategy. Common themes we have witnessed include a misalignment on sales and business development (BD).

  • Often CEOs tend to promote their junior BD person to VP of Sales, which in our experience rarely works.

  • In other cases, they promote the top performing sales person to VP of Sales, yet in reality these are very different roles.

  • Sometimes CEOs hire for logos rather than actual experience. The problem here is that very few folks at big companies like Google completely own a feature or product. In these companies the sales team have the benefit of millions in marketing dollars and the associated brand power. You don't have that as a startup.

3. Firing

Bad hires happen, and one person can kill the culture early. Often there is a reluctance to fire quickly in the early stages, but it may critical for the company’s long-term success.

First-time CEOs rarely have a plan of how to test this, and then execute against it.

4. Delegating

At the growth stages it is imperative that CEOs delegate effectively. This starts with hiring the best people, setting goals and check ins, and moving onto the next thing.

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Maria Amelie