This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.
From cash flow to recruiting and retaining talent to managing evolving customer needs, scaling up a company represents a level of complexity that is well beyond the initial startup phase.
During a recent Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week panel discussion, a group of Louisiana entrepreneurs shared lessons they learned along the way as they successfully scaled their businesses. Here’s a look at a few of their insights.
Several panel members said that letting go and empowering others to lead was among their biggest challenges as they scaled their companies.
“Instead of being a leader and creating followers, the goal is to create a leader that creates more leaders,” says Erik Frank, president of Your Nutrition Delivered. Frank says that as it has grown, his company has placed an emphasis on passing on both the knowledge of how to be a leader within the organization and of what effective leadership looks like.
Lowry Curley, CEO of AxoSim, a New Orleans-based biotech startup, said the company’s first four employees represented an efficient and effective team that was frequently in the same room together, which made keeping up with day-to-day operations easy. “Once we grew to five people we weren’t all in the same room, so that got disconnected,” he said. “I learned that you need operational processes in place to check in on that.”
Peru Sharma, founder of meal-kit delivery business Indie Plate, which was acquired by Waitr, says that in retrospect he should have given others within the company more autonomy to make key decisions — and to live with the success or failure of those choices. “We had the people,” Sharma says. “The problem was I failed to empower the people to make decisions when the time was right.”