New Company: It takes a village
We refer to companies who are selling products and growing as getting traction. This traction comes in the form of growing revenue, working with customers and oftentimes adding people.
In the book Blitzscaling (Hoffman, R., & Yeh, C.) describe the realm of growing a company by family-sized companies, tribe-sized companies, village-sized companies, city-sized companies and nation-sized companies:
(Hoffman, R., & Yeh, C.) Blitzscaling presentation
Having worked in companies that are at each of these stages of growth I have clearly seen an initial inertia that is holding back on growth in the company at the early stages (Family, Tribe, Village). The village size companies are inflection points for needing more solid processes. However, the City and Nation companies are just another scale and they have to have standards and processes in place to keep the flywheel turning. If City and Nation sized companies do not have solid ways to plan their strategy, ensure people are working on the right things and have more rigorous processes they die and wither away.
What is different in Family, Tribe and Village companies?
Smaller companies are fighting a bit of a different battle than companies over 100 people, and less than $100MM in revenue. Innovating, solving problems and gaining traction is critical to grow your business.
These smaller organizations need to prioritize speed over efficiency. The speed that is delivered also has to come at a level of quality that their customers and regulators will accept.
What I have seen being in small startups are that as a company grows from 20-100 people organizations start to feel the impact of inefficiency due to a lack of role and goal clarity. However, because teams are smaller it is easier to quickly churn out goals or work with people to clarify their roles.
As a company reaches larger forms of scale the biggest risk is that innovation slows while business process and standardization increases.
According to the chart by (Hoffman, R., & Yeh, C.) is your company a family, tribe, village, city or nation?
As your organization has added resources do individuals generally have the impact expected from their roles?
Has innovation slowed in place of greater standardization and business process?