Entrepreneurship for Scientists

When to Bring in the Pros

You've developed the technology and launched the company. As a scientist entrepreneur, you've done well, but is it time to bring in some professional managers? Here are some signs that you need to bring in others who are more experienced in growing young companies.

You spent years chasing your dream and it's finally becoming a reality.

When to Bring in the Pros

Developing the technology was hard work and launching your company was even harder. But now that your business is up and running, your problems are over . . . Or are they?

Entrepreneurs who successfully commercialize their own designs and inventions quickly realize that running a growing company is harder than it looks. A rapidly expanding business presents a host of unique challenges and opportunities. Some of them you can handle on your own and some of them you can't. The trick is knowing when it's time to admit you're in over your head and its time to call in professional assistance.

When you're spending more time learning than leading.

It's only natural to expect a learning curve when you launch a business, especially if your experience is heavily weighted toward science and product development. But when you own a business, your primarily role is a leadership role. If you're spending all your time learning how to perform specific business tasks instead of actually leading the company, something is out of whack. The easiest remedy may be to hire a time management consultant capable of helping you shift your priorities. Instead of trying to learn how to do all the jobs yourself, you might also want to think about hiring people who already possess the training and experience the tasks require.

When growth plateaus or declines.

It's not uncommon for new businesses to experience a whirlwind of growth and activity during the first few years. But if growth suddenly plateaus or even declines, that's an indication that something has changed significantly. If you don't fully understand the nature of the change you are experiencing, it's time to call in a business growth consultant who can identify the root cause of the plateau and suggest tactics to get your business back on a growth track.

When your financial records are in shambles.

Scientist and engineers are very comfortable with numbers. Unfortunately, a familiarity with figures doesn't always translate into an ability to maintain accurate books. Accounting is a highly technical field with its own set of rules and procedures. Rather than trying to muddle through your accounting requirements by yourself, you're almost always better off hiring a professional accountant.

When your advertising isn't working.

You can save a lot of money by doing your own advertising. However, you can also run your business into the ground if you don't know what you're doing. Today's marketing environment is highly sophisticated and requires the expertise of marketing professionals. If your advertising isn't get the job done, pick up the phone immediately and get in touch with someone who has a proven track record of creating buzz among consumers.

When your staff loses confidence in you.

As a business owner, your worst case scenario is when your staff loses confidence in your ability to lead the company. The good news is that usually only happens when an owner tries to perform tasks he is not equipped to perform. When in doubt, don't hesitate to bring in a consultant or additional staff to complement your areas of weakness.

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