Transitioning To Professional Management

What is your management style, entrepreneurial or professional?

Starting a company 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.

Fine-tune your product or service concept into something that is marketable, then promote it to obtain customers. Cost your product or service out and then price it where it makes money when sold but is also at a competitive price point compared to the competition. Obtain the funding necessary to launch and sustain the company.

There are many other jobs to do as well, including hiring and training staff; one person cannot have the time to do everything, and an entrepreneur will also not have all the skills needed by the organization.

For continued expansion, hand off responsibility to the hired staff. While handing over some degree of control to others is often a difficult step for a company founder, if they don’t, they will soon stagnate as a person’s  bandwidth can only stretch so much. This then becomes the transition phase from entrepreneurial to professional management. Navigate this well and you are on your way to having a company rather than a one man show or lifestyle business. The former can have intrinsic value after a founder leaves, but the latter disappears when that founder does.

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The question to ask yourself is, “Which type of enterprise do I want to have?” Something that lasts needs to be a professionally managed organization. How do you make this leap? 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-than-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.

MORE: Collaborate, Innovate and Inspire: How to support other entrepreneurs and delight your customers

Michael Neidle

Michael Neidle
Michael Neidle is president and CEO of Optimal Management, an advisor to staffing firm owners and managers.

Michael Neidle

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