Global fintech and funding innovation ecosystem

How Top CEOs Set the Stage for Growth

NFX | Gigi Levy-Weiss | Jan 26, 2023

How elite CEOs really scale - How Top CEOs Set the Stage for GrowthAn overlooked key to growth: How well you transition from Founder to CEO determines how your company scales.

  • Seed stage Founders have a hand in everything: marketing, hiring, product, sales, everything. You have to early on.  But when your startup starts to grow you can’t – and shouldn’t – keep doing it all yourself.
    • Once you reach 30-50 people, your goal should be to build a team and mechanisms that will do “everything” so that you, the CEO, can focus on leading and managing.
  • The deceptively simple secret: Elite CEOs build systems.

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  • Hiring:  Before we dive into systems, let’s get this out of the way. Don’t worry about spending too much time on hiring. Take the time you need to surround yourself with the right people[, and don't be afraid to try people out'.
    • Wix CEO:  "I cycled for 22 people before I found Omer Shai, my CMO. I hired and moved people to different things. I fired people. It was around 22 people that they hired within about a year and a half…When I got to Omer after a few weeks, it was obvious he was on a different level. "
    • Testing: You can’t tell who is going to be a “super talent” in an interview.
    • Titles don't matter:  Wix lets employees set their own job titles.  That allows you to wait, see who performs the best, and give them that role later on.
    • Fix mistakes quickly:  My philosophy on this is that A players hire A players A+ players hire A+ players. B players hire C players. C players hire D players and D players hire F players, right?
  • Measurement systems:  Most Founders are good at measuring core KPIs, and bad at measuring support tasks. Here’s how we suggest you approach measurement:
    • If you can’t measure it, it didn’t happen.  Share measurements widely
    • Differentiate between Good Failure and Bad Failure:  Good failures happen when an underlying assumption is wrong. Sometimes you execute something well and it just doesn’t work. That’s okay. Now you know not to repeat this experiment.

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  • Speed/productivity:
    • Every project has a clear owner
    • No waiting in line for resources
    • Kill useless meetings.  Redistribute responsibilities within projects to cut down on meetings.

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