Eight Issues To Prepare For As Your Company Approaches The 50-Employee Mark

For many entrepreneurs, a growing business is a successful one. But there’s a lot more to consider than simple growth as a measurement for success. A quality company culture, happy and fulfilled employees as well as seamless processes are all factors that contribute to a healthy company—and they all have the potential to be negatively impacted by your company’s growth.

When your business is small, you have a greater ability for solving and preventing problems that may crop up. As your business grows, that becomes less true. Below, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council Leaders list some common issues you’ll likely encounter as your company approaches the 50-employee mark, and explain how and why you should prepare for them to occur.

1. Losing That Personal Connection

As your company grows, one issue to prepare for (and develop plans to avoid) is the potential of losing that personal connection among the team. The bigger a company gets, the easier it is to lose that personal connection that helps employees feel valued and connected to the company’s mission and enables management to support their teams effectively. So as you bring on more employees, it’s important to continue holding individual check-ins and team meetings, leaving time to discuss things other than project-related topics. Recognize employees’ hard work, celebrate individual and team successes and maintain an “open-door” conversation policy that lets employees know they can always come to you for help. – Diana Goodwin, MarketBox

2. Information Silos

When we hit the 50-employee mark, I noticed our teams unintentionally started building information silos, which isn’t efficient or practical for long-term growth. These silos meant that certain groups were out of the loop, which led to confusion across the company. My solution was to encourage every team to document their processes and keep a running list of changes and updates. Everyone within the company can access these documents via the cloud. Sharing information in this way led to some exciting breakthroughs and helped us go from 50 to 200 employees over several years. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

3. The Inability To Support A Growing Team

A growing team has growing needs. We learned that very early on in our own business. The more people you bring to your team, the harder it gets to support them and help each of them grow. It also becomes much more difficult to maintain the company culture because every person brings their own vibe and their own issues. So while it’s always exciting to expand your business, make sure you are prepared for lots of turbulence, and ensure that you have the capacity and resources to manage it. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

4. Sloppy Processes And Culture

There are a few issues you should prepare for as your company grows. One of the significant issues is the lack of oversight. Larger companies tend to get sloppy as they grow, so you need to have sound systems in place to ensure that every employee is doing their job as intended and working on the right things. Next, you should start thinking about corporate culture. Do we have a good corporate culture or not? If we do, how can we keep it that way as we grow? How can people work well together? How can we create one if we don’t have a good corporate culture? These are just some of the questions you should consider when growing. – Candice Georgiadis, Digital Day

5. New Management Needs

You’ll have to change how you think about hiring management. There is a specific type of manager who is better suited to dynamic startup environments. Then there are those who are better at handling scaled companies and multilayer organizations. It requires a different set of organizational abilities and structure, whereas, with early executives, you might value creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and an agile approach. – Andy Karuza, NachoNacho

6. Inefficient Software And Tools

Once your team hits 50-plus employees, you should assess your software and remote work tools to ensure they can scale up with your growing business. In many cases, the tools entrepreneurs buy when they start their businesses become less efficient as more employees join the roster. For example, your time tracking software may only cover up to 50 employees. You would need to upgrade or choose a different tool to keep things running smoothly. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Complex Lines Of Communication

As a business grows and more employees join, the number of lines of communication grows exponentially. For example, at one employee, there are zero lines of communication. At five employees, there are 10 lines of communication. At 50, there are 1,225 lines of communication. It comes as no surprise then that one should expect increased complexity in coordination and alignment (on tasks, the mission and other things) as the company hits 50 employees and beyond. Jeff Bezos famously tries to combat this with the “two-pizza team rule,” which states that no team can be so large that they can’t be fed by two pizzas. In doing this, one combats the exponential complexity in communication and coordination by modularizing teams into units within which the communication and coordination is much more manageable. – Akshar Bonu, The Custom Movement

8. The Potential Need To Step Down

Probably the hardest thing is accepting that you might not be the best leader for this type of organization, and then finding a replacement. Many entrepreneurs like building new projects, but not seeing them get bigger. They simply don’t know how to manage such a company. Therefore, for the success of your company, it is important for you to admit that you are not the right fit anymore. Keep your seat on the board, but give up on your CEO position. Find the right individual to lead your company into the future. – Alexandru Stan, Tekpon

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