In my early 20s, my husband and I spent most of our weekends fixing up our house. One Friday night, my husband said, “Why can’t we do something fun this weekend? Let’s take a road trip.” We didn’t have children yet, so we packed a few things in a bag and headed east. We made it all the way from central Iowa to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (about 800 miles).
It was spontaneous and fun. A couple of years later, we took our 11-month-old daughter to Niagara Falls and back in a long weekend. Then we had a second child, and then a third child. We kept taking road trips. But guess what happened? They weren’t as fun. They weren’t as carefree. The more spontaneous the road trip, the worse the experience.
So, it goes with growing a business. It starts out fun and exciting. But, as it grows, it becomes exhausting and chaotic. In both scenarios (our spontaneous road trips and business growth), the two most common choices are to:
- press on and gut it out, or
- quit and give up.
But there’s another option. The third choice is to recognize… there’s a new way to travel.
My husband and I had to stop functioning like it was just the two of us, and we were footloose and fancy-free. We had to recognize sometimes kids puke in the car, and we need barf bags and a warning word. We learned the more prepared we were, the better our experience was.
The same is true as your business moves from startup to scale up. It’s a new way to travel. What worked before isn’t going to work anymore. Instead of gutting it out, instead of quitting, you must acknowledge there are new rules of the road.
Understanding these 10 principles for the road from startup to scaleup will not only inform the way you lead yourself, but it will also guide the way you drive your business. Dive into the details of each of these 10 principles here.
- You’re the leader.
- Better is possible.
- Know who you are and where you’re going.
- Strategy strengthens activity.
- Forecast your future.
- Insights give you better instincts.
- Simple beats complex.
- A strong company runs and grows without you.
- Don’t lead alone.
- Healthy people foster healthy organizations.
A business’s ability to move from startup to scaleup is determined by the leader’s mindset.
As the leader, you must internalize these rules of the road. As you begin putting them into practice, they will more naturally flow out of you to your organization. Remember rule No. 1: you’re the leader. The more you rehearse, remember, and repeat these principles, the easier it will be for them to permeate your company’s culture.