We have discussed the difficulties of scaling an eCommerce business time and time again. Today, we continue with the Trellis video series for an inside look into management advice from Trellis CEO Isaiah Bollinger. After 7 years of building a startup into a thriving company, he has experienced many hardships while scaling the Trellis brand. Now that Trellis is as big as it is, keeping tabs on all employees is a daunting challenge. This is part of the reason why building a team of managers that the leadership team can rely upon and trust is vital for the long term prevalency of your brand.
For many startups, the founders are usually one of, if not the only employee working to get the business up and running. Over time, as the business becomes increasingly successful, new additions and hires will ensue. Eventually, the business will be too large to manage all on your own. CEOs and executive teams must branch out and incorporate more people in the strategic operations of the business. Training others to duplicate your work ethic and business savvy is your best bet to maintain growth.
The first set of hires will be your direct subsidiaries. You will give them orders and they will produce (hopefully). This direct communication allows for easy management and easy analysis of their work. As your company builds it will be impossible to maintain this type of relationship across all employees. To resolve this issue, it is important to hire a team of managers to act as a liaison between the executive team and the subsidiary employees. A CEO should not be responsible for managing every single employee in the company. Rather, the CEO should be focused on managing the mangers themselves and reinforcing optimal business practices.
Long Term Vision
When you are just getting started, most business decisions can be thought of in the micro. Get to the next day, next sale, or next event. However, large scale businesses need to think macro. Your company should concretely set its goals and mission so that all hires are on the same page. Put a company culture in place that emphasizes hard work and responsibility. Your new manager should have a similar vision to you and must be comfortable duplicating your past results. Managers should not be micro-managed. Once their responsibilities are derived, the CEO or executive team should only need to help out every once in a while.
Creating a system of trust and communication between managers and executive leaders is what allows a business to continue to scale over time. Build the structure but let the managers focus on the day-to-day operations. Hash out the vision and your managers will follow in your footsteps.