Headcount Planning

Org Design and Intentional Growth for Startups

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by ChartHop Team

July 8th, 2021

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The ChartHop Team

Most fast-growing startups dream of becoming leaders in their industry. Yet, startups too often(and too quickly) flounder and fail as a result of rapid and disproportionate growth.

A 2019 article in the Harvard Business Review argues that companies, particularly those in their early stage, very rarely “think critically about the strategic principles” necessary to grow.

“Your growth strategy should fit where you are in the moment,” says Brian Rothenberg, partner at defy.vc. “At each stage, you should be focused on different targets, according to your customers, your resources, and the data you’ve collected.”

Each stage of growth will bring its own struggles and successes, but you can better navigate each phase by being intentional about the choices you make regarding planning and grounding those decisions in data-driven insights.

Why intentional growth matters

Being intentional about what you want for your company and where you want your company to go gives your teams a goal to aim for, and it can also inspire confidence in your company’s ability to get there.

Clearly communicating your company vision and growth plan can go a long way in rallying employees around that future state. But simply saying where you see your company in five years isn’t enough—you need to show your teams the path you believe can get your company there.

That’s exactly what Colin Bramm, co-founder and CEO of Showbie, did. After presenting his growth plan to the board, he showed the same org chart to his 48 employees.

“Everybody was excited to actually see, ‘Okay, it’s not actually this pie-in-the-sky vision to get from here to there . . . tactically this is how it’s going to happen,’” he says. Having this clear plan helped Bramm and his teams have constructive conversations about the steps needed to reach that future state.

Intentional growth also helps your company scale sustainably. Starburst, an analytics startup, found their marketing team hadn’t grown at nearly the rate as the sales team. Because marketing helps connect potential customers with sales reps, an imbalance meant fewer prospects for sales to pursue. Identifying this issue allowed Starburst to adjust its hiring goals and bring on more marketing team members to better support sales goals.

When you approach growth in smaller increments, you’re better able to assess how decisions impact your company as a whole and make corrections as needed.

How your company can be intentional with your growth

Laying the groundwork for intentional growth is crucial in your company’s early stages, and that’s why we’ve put together this guide with best practices and strategies.

Check out the guide to learn how to:

  • Start tracking data on day one
  • Build your systems and processes to grow with you
  • Identify opportunities to improve efficiencies
  • Be open to natural changes in structure
  • Engage your managers as strategic business partners
  • Plan for every-case scenario
  • Grow a culture of transparency

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Written by ChartHop Team

Head of Growth & Partnerships

Headcount Planning

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