The top 5 growing pains for start-ups.


Small companies become big companies. As they mature and move from the spare bedroom to the boardroom, all experience growing pains. Here are 5 key growing pains:

1. Disagreements by owners

Trust and friendship are great cohesive elements in the foundation period of a start-up’s journey. All too frequently, this unfortunately encourages the founders to ignore the boring but fundamental step of agreeing terms of their relationship (usually in the form of a formal shareholders’ agreement). This growing pain can be exacerbated by divergent priorities and differences of opinion and is an extremely dangerous practice.

2. Lack of workplace policies and procedures

Start-ups often thrive on a lack of rules and boundaries. But as they make the transition from a handful of people in a room or virtual office to sizeable businesses, the hazards of operating without a manual – including lawsuits, damage to reputation, and waning employee morale – grow exponentially.

Employees sometimes chafe at the arrival of policies and procedures that they fear will impinge on the company’s culture. Yet entrepreneurs and start-up investors say they ultimately have little choice. It is however possible to deal with the inevitable by aiming for a careful, light-touch approach to new policies.

3. Not delegating

‘Time is money’ is an old cliché that we are all familiar with, but to what extent is it adopted in start-ups? Founders of start-ups frequently perform low value tasks that could be outsourced or delegated, and skip the high-ROI work they could be doing -not being able to hand over the reigns on even the smallest tasks. This growing pain is like an ‘entrepreneur’s flu’ – most catch it at some stage, it’s infectious and it’s hard to shrug.

4. Desperation for a sale

Start-ups often feel they need income, more than they need ideas and innovation. Ideas abound, and yet money is tight.  Accordingly, they often jump at any sale in desperation, regardless of whether it is truly economical. A balance must be found, and this is not an easy task.

5. Too much of a good thing

For start-ups, nothing is better than growth. Can you have too much of a good thing? Growing without planning and discipline is like over-eating without exercising. That path leads to chaotic workflow, lack of focus and poor decision-making.

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Posted on: 15 September 2013