Great article at Inc.com entitled, Why Founders Get Fired. (I love Inc. magazine. It’s a great strategic financial resource…and general business resource too.)
The premise of the article is that the Larry Ellisons (Oracle) and Bill Gates (Microsoft) of the world are rare. Most founders of high growth companies are replaced. Obviously, if the company is acquired (see my comments yesterday on Selling to Large Companies: The 1-3 Year Lockup), the founder will is replaced, though not immediately. However, many companies that experience rapid growth outgrow the capabilities of their founders.
According to the article, “what helps a founder become so successful in launching a company—his or her passion—can also detract from big picture managerial skills it takes to scale the company.”
and more: “The person who took that company from nothing to $5 million has done a daunting job, but that person, in the view of the VC, is very often not the person that will take them from $5 million to $100 million.”
Why? The skill set needed to get from 0 to 5 is very different from the skill set needed to get from 5 to 50…or higher.
If you don’t have investors in your company telling you someone else needs to head the company to make it larger, you could be your company’s bottleneck to growth. It’s hard to make such a self assessment, but it can be done. Sara Blakely is Spanx’s founder and still the majority owner. Yet she ceded the CEO duties to someone else a few years ago. She realized she was the startup entrepreneur and now she focuses her energies on building the brand and relationships. She brought in an experienced CEO as a strategic, financial resource to help her build a sustainable enterprise. You may want to take a tip from her and the people quoted in the article and “fire” yourself. Your business may thank you for it.