Periods of hypergrowth are some of the most exciting, rewarding times a founder will go through during their career. However, such progress often brings the need to reevaluate your current business model, team and your own role within the operation, regularly leading to difficult, but necessary decisions.

To discuss the biggest challenges and considerations that leaders face during these phases, we caught up with Andrey Khusid (Miro) and Robert Vis (Message Bird), two hugely influential figures in the Dutch tech ecosystem with an abundance of experience in navigating hypergrowth.

Leading from the front

Different stages of the scaling journey call for different kinds of experience within your leadership team. While hypergrowth is generally difficult to predict, doing all you can to ensure you have these key figures in place ahead of time can be the difference in tough, pivotal moments for the business.

As a startup, particularly in the earliest stages, attracting this caliber of talent can be tricky, but given how vital a role they play in scaling, and their importance in helping shoulder the responsibilities previously held solely by yourself, this isn’t an area to cut corners.

A shift in mindset

One of the most difficult transitions will be shifting from a family-feeling small team into a scaled business of hundreds. This change requires clear rules and regulations within the workplace to protect both your business and your team.

Not every employee will enjoy the next phase, so clear and regular communication is a must if you’re to truly understand where issues could arise and address them early. Each different team member will have a different set of expectations, so discussions about defined career paths will also become more regular.

When you feel it, you’ve hit it

Founding and scaling a startup is a whirlwind, things move fast and you’ll likely find yourself being pulled in various different directions.

Once you hit hypergrowth, though, there will be a clear shift in your daily roles and responsibilities, meaning an alteration in mindset is inevitable if you’re to succeed. While the product was once your sole focus, you’ll now spend more time in the boardroom, and veer more towards what is needed to accelerate the wider business.

This usually means that founders become less part of the day-to-day team and work relationships become more transactional. Again, this can be a challenging transition for many founders who have such a strong affinity with the product and the team they’ve grown with, making it a logical time to also consider whether or not you’re the right person to move into that crucial CEO role.

High-standard hiring

In periods of hypergrowth, it can be easy to rush things just to get people through the door. While moving with agility is sometimes necessary, your team is everything and not paying this process the attention it deserves will quickly prove extremely costly.

Ideally, you want to bring people in who have already experienced hypergrowth, have the right mindest, resilient leadership skills and ambition to execute on hypergrowth, as well as are familiar with high standards in the workplace. Doing things this way will take more time in the short-term, but will prove priceless further down the line.

Transparency at this stage is crucial. Be honest with candidates about what the role entails and accept that to attract great talent, you’ll need to pay them well.

Stick to your principles

Your values are what set you apart from your competitors, and for many of your team, will have been one of the biggest factors in them deciding to join the business, so changing them as you grow can be dangerous and a very slippery slope.

While things will inevitably shift as you scale, keeping these principles at the core of your business should remain a priority, and they should still dictate your day-to-day decisions.

Hypergrowth has the potential to be thrilling, wildly frustrating and incredibly unpredictable all at once and as a founder, the ride will rarely be a straightforward one. The period will undoubtedly be littered with tricky situations that require you to step out of your comfort zone and make the often unpleasant choices expected of a leader. However, on the flip-side of that, it also brings immense highs, ones that will eclipse the hard times, that you should absolutely take the time to enjoy.

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