As a new startup is getting off the ground, and the team is focused on product/market fit, there’s often little organizational structure. Everyone is heads-down focused on building something people want to buy and, with a small team, everyone knows what everyone is working on. Only, as product/market fit is found, and the organization grows, the need for organizational structure grows. Yet, many entrepreneurs, especially first-time entrepreneurs, are so caught up in the whirlwind of the business (especially when it’s going well!) that they don’t step back and start to put in more process and structure. I’ve even seen an entrepreneur scale well beyond the $1M run-rate milestone and not even have regular leadership meetings.
Here are a few thoughts on transitioning from free flowing to structured organization:
- Implement a Simplified One Page Strategic Plan immediately (even while in the free flowing stage)
- Don’t add too much structure too early, but do take time to ensure everyone is aligned with the organizational goals or OKRs
- Consider the appropriate meeting rhythm, and if more frequent communication produces better team results, implement daily check-ins for everyone
- When the team is the size that everyone doesn’t know what everyone else is working on, more structure is needed
9/10 times when I ask someone in a startup what their company values and goals are, they can’t provide a consistent answer. While the free flowing style works at the beginning, over time more organizational structure and process is needed.
What else? What are some more thoughts on transitioning from free flowing to structured organization?