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TRANSITIONING TO PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT

What is your management style, entrepreneurial or professional? As one starts a company it is by definition an entrepreneurial venture. That is it takes the full dedication of the founder for a company to go from a bright idea to a functioning company. The skills and time needed to start a company are myriad and demanding, and only the ones that can perform these tasks well will be able to survive and prosper. 

One must fine tune their product or service concept into something that is marketable. They have to then promote it to obtain customers. They have to cost their product or service out and then price it where they can both make money by selling it and arrive at a competitive price point compared to the competition. They need to obtain the funding necessary to launch and sustain the company. They of course need to do many other jobs as well, including hiring and training staff because there are only so many hours in the day and adding if they want to grow as they can’t do everything themselves, plus certain skills are required to run the organization the entrepreneur will not possess.

So to continue to expand one must hand off responsibility to the staff that they hired. This is often a difficult step for the founder to hand over some degree of control to others. But if they don’t they will soon stagnate as ones bandwidth can only stretch so much. This then becomes the transition phase from entrepreneurial to professional management. Those that can navigate this well are on their way to being able to have a real company vs. a one man show or life style business. The former can have intrinsic value after the founder leaves, but the latter disappears when that founder does. 

So the question one should ask themselves is which type of enterprise they want to have and if they want something that lasts they need to become a professionally managed organization. Assuming they want to make this leap, what do they have to do? The answer is as President Reagan said in a different context, “trust but verify”. That is develop an organizational structure for all traditional aspects of a company, sales, accounting, administration, etc. then hire qualified people to manage those functions, Let them know what is expected of them to perform to the standards that you set. Monitor their results and give them room to grow and improve upon what they were initially charged with. 

Very often the hardest part for an entrepreneur is to let go and allow people to make some less then critical mistakes so that they can learn (trust but verify), don’t micromanage them or intimidate them and preempt their decision making process. Allow them to grow so you can make the transition to a professionally managed company.

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