What Most Founders Ignore When Scaling Their Startup From 1 --> X

Written by Alida Miranda-Wolff, Cofounder of Ethos Talent


Hi HypeNation,

I work with venture-backed growing and growth stage companies every day through my

company culture consulting practice Ethos, and in each one, I observe the same struggle:

Building a company from zero to one takes very different skills than building a company from

one to “X.”

Think about it this way. When you first build a house, what matters most is building a

foundation, walls, roofing, and any other elements that will keep it standing. That’s what you

do as an entrepreneur going from zero to one.

When it comes time to add in the finer details – the flooring and wallpaper down to the kitchen

cabinet pulls – that requires another kind of expertise. Perhaps a different eye for design,

greater attention to detail, and an ability to source multiple kinds of designers and builders to

fill in where your imagination stops.

Many entrepreneurs understand this from the very beginning and set out to develop the skills

they need to be able to do every job as the company scales.

One response to this attitude might be: “You can’t and shouldn’t do everything on your own!” But I think the appropriate response is: “What is your ideal job?”

And then I make them write it down in an “Ideal Job Description” exercise.

Scaling Your People: The ‘Ideal Job Description’ Exercise

The exercise simply breaks down into a worksheet of four parts.

  • Company Description: What are this company’s values? Industry? Audiences?

  • Role: In your ideal world, what are the three to five problems you solve at this company in your role.

  • Responsibilities: For each of those problems, how do you specifically choose to solve them in your own way. What does an ideal day-to-day really look like for you?

  • Benefits and Compensation: What do you want to make, and what additional offerings make the work even more fulfilling? (i.e. work from home days, commuter benefits, free lunch, healthcare, etc.)

The reason many founders leave during the one to “X” phase is not because they are

unequipped to do the job but because they don’t like it anymore.

If you’re going through all the pains of starting your own business and then even more painfully

scaling it, you should like what you do. An ideal job description keeps you honest about what

that is and helps you structure your business so you can achieve that outcome.

If you want to know more about scaling yourself as a startup leader, listen to my

conversation with RajNATION on Startup Hypeman’s Discover Your Inner Awesome Podcast.

-Alida