You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

From 30 to 300 — 5 Ways to Keep Your Vision and Mission Intact as Your Team Grows The keys to scaling your business successfully are culture, connection, and knowing everyone's name.

By Bidhan Baruah

Key Takeaways

  • Maintain your connections.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

No matter where your business is in the growth cycle, you dream of more customers, more revenue and more employees. I've not only watched my own company expand rapidly, but I've also helped clients grow their businesses. As such, I've had a front-row seat to the challenges of scaling up.

Gracefully scaling a business requires working closely with the right people, making authentic connections, and encouraging them to grow with the company. It's a process you need to refine from your first hire to your 30th and your 300th.

1. Work closely with the first 30

Everyone believes that working for an established brand means job security, better benefits and higher pay. That mindset can make it tough for your small business to attract the talent you need to grow beyond the startup phase. Overcoming this hurdle requires a savvy hiring strategy.

At this stage, the key to attracting and retaining people is simple: pay them a good salary and make sure they're paid on time. Regular paychecks communicate the company's stability and prosperity. If the checks are late, people start looking for a new job.

The first 30 people you hire can make or break the venture. They need to fully align with your vision, your mission, and each other. It's up to you as the founder to work closely with them and keep everyone swimming in the same direction.

When your initial hires share the energy for what you're trying to build, they'll not only stick around but champion your company to their networks. They'll talk about what they're doing, the tech stack they work with, and why they like their job.

That word of mouth is worth its weight in gold. When you're ready to grow again, you may find the hiring pipeline is already full of candidates aligned with your goals.

Related: How to Create a Strategic Hiring Plan

2. Strengthen the culture during scaleup

When your staff grows to 75 to 100 people, it gets harder to be heavily involved in the company's day-to-day operations. You start building a management team at this level, delegating some of your responsibilities to the next set of leaders so you can stay focused on growing the business.

Delegation helps grow your management team and empowers them to make decisions independently. The downside is that it creates a layer of separation between you and the bulk of your employees. You have fewer face-to-face interactions with individuals. If you're not careful, this distance can have a cooling effect on your company culture.

When staffing surpasses a certain threshold, it gets harder to foster and maintain genuine connections with your employees. Even five-minute chats with 100 employees would take eight hours, leaving you with little time to get anything else done.

Yet these connections strengthen the culture and help you hang on to the talent you worked so hard to find. I've seen the difference it makes, not only in improving team morale but also in the client experience. Our clients enjoy working with us because our culture is evident in their interactions with our teams. Our employee churn rate is low for the same reason. All of it is rooted in the authentic connections we've established.

Leveraging your direct reports is the key to creating and maintaining trusted relationships at scale.

Related: What Makes a Great Company Culture (and Why It Matters)

3. Foster connections via leaders

Once you've reached a 150 to 200 headcount, regular one-on-ones with your key leaders can create a network of indirect connections — especially if you encourage those leaders to have regular one-on-ones with individuals on their teams.

These indirect connections help you propagate your vision down through the ranks, keeping everyone aligned and energized about the mission. Similarly, regular meetings with your managers keep you in the know about individuals' goals and concerns, team priorities, and overall morale levels.

As your staff grows, so does your need for more managers. If you haven't already done so, identify the key leaders who have been with you from the beginning. Give them more of a leadership role and the ability to grow their own team. Not only does it help create greater efficiency, but it also allows your most loyal employees to grow alongside your business.

Related: Great Leaders Connect With Employees, Foster Collaboration and Embrace Continuous Change

4. At minimum, learn everyone's name

If you only have a few dozen people working for you, creating a positive, vibrant work environment that everyone finds fulfilling is much easier. You know everyone's names, interests, and sometimes even their families. It's not a heavy lift to create a feeling of camaraderie.

It gets more challenging as your ranks swell into the hundreds, though. Remembering every employee's name is harder—but it's not impossible. Employees feel valued when they realize you know their name and what they do. The company I helped found grew quickly over the past few years, and we now have more than 300 employees worldwide. I know everyone by name. It's a simple thing that pays enormous dividends in retaining talented individuals.

Similarly, eating together can strengthen connections and make people feel valued. I've gotten into the habit of taking groups out for lunch or dinner. Gathering around a table for a meal together gives everyone a chance to learn about each other and share a little about themselves.

5. Mind the pinch points

All growth comes with growing pains. If you're not careful, quality can slide as your team (and you) burn out from long working hours and stress.

If you're fortunate enough to grow rapidly, expect some pinch points. Keep an eye out for them and tackle them head-on when they appear. Don't assume; always verify. In other words, don't think you know why a problem is occurring or how you can fix it. Instead, explore the issue with an open mind. Sit with an underperforming team and listen to what they have to say.

Maintain your connections and keep the lines of communication open, and you'll be better positioned to scale successfully.

Bidhan Baruah

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Co-founder and COO of Taazaa Inc.

Bidhan is the Co-founder and COO of Taazaa Inc. and has also co-founded SaaS products like Innago, CookinGenie, and Tobi Cloud. He has more than two decades of software industry experience, driving cross-functional development teams to success.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Growing a Business

How to Leverage Business Awards to Foster Innovation, Build Your Brand and Retain Top Talent

Awards validate a company's efforts in innovation and corporate responsibility but also enhance its reputation, attract talent and open doors to new partnerships and customer segments.

Business News

Nike Responds to Criticism Over U.S. Women's Olympic Uniforms: 'Everything's Showing'

The company is the official outfitter for the U.S. Olympic track and field athletes.

Growing a Business

Top Brands Are Flocking to Newsletter Advertising — Here Are 11 Reasons Why You Should Do the Same.

An explanation of the current market trend of brands turning to newsletter advertising as a primary channel in their marketing campaigns.

Growing a Business

5 Entrepreneurial Mindsets That Drive Success

Here are the mindsets shared by the most successful entrepreneurs.