The Top 4 People Challenges in High-Growth, Entrepreneur-Led Businesses

The Top 4 People Challenges in High-Growth, Entrepreneur-Led Businesses

High-growth, entrepreneur-led businesses, typically face at least one of the four key, people related challenges illustrated below. These challenges are rarely perceived as critical, but will seriously restrict the growth of the business if not addressed.

Challenge #1

There is no link between HR and the strategic objectives of the business.

HR’s focus is purely operational and it is regarded as a cost centre rather than a value add function. Growth is inhibited due to the failure to get the right people in the right place at the right time. Culture erosion occurs due to poor communication.

Challenge #2

Rising stars in the business have no clear development plan.

There is little formal support to ensure that stars are equipped to meet the increasingly complex challenges that growth brings. Previously highly regarded individuals are over-promoted. Performance may falter or they may leave the company. Similarly, there is no specific plan to deal with those individuals for whom the company has “outgrown”.

Challenge #3

Growth is inhibited by the failure to recruit the right people at the right time.

Mid-sized companies struggle to hire specialist, technical or industry skills, particularly at the mid-level. Historic recruitment processes are not working due to the different type of candidates now sought. As a result, the business plan is not achieved or goals are pushed out, due to the lack of the required people resource.

Challenge #4

The organisation lacks specific skills at certain stages of growth.

There is a need for specific, experienced industry and commercial skills to support decision making at certain stages of growth. Often these needs are transient and there is rarely justification for hiring these skills on a full-time basis, but accessing them, as and when required, proves challenging. The result can be delays or lack of clarity in decision making. Pitfalls that could have been avoided are encountered.

It is fair to say, that all these Top 4 Challenges stem from #1. Robust business planning should include consideration of how the company’s people plan is aligned with the current and anticipated needs of the business. This will ensure the effective attraction, development, performance and retention of key employees and that the business succeeds in getting the right people in the right place at the right time, doing the right things and getting the right results.


David Twiddle is Managing Director of Twiddle & Co., a talent management firm specifically serving high-growth, entrepreneur-led and family owned businesses.
Twiddle & Co. deliver a range of solutions that help overcome the people challenges that private companies face during periods of rapid growth.