Zoc Doc

Surviving the startup founder-to-CEO transition

April 21, 2011: 11:04 AM ET

The founder who can accept his limitations as a manager has a much better chance of watching his business blossom into the next big thing.

By Ethan Rouen, contributor 

FORTUNE -- In 2007, Cyrus Massoumi, a former business consultant, had an idea for a business and two friends willing to take a risk with him.

His spark of inspiration came when he ruptured an eardrum and couldn't find a doctor to see him right away. Four years later, he is the CEO of ZocDoc, a fast-growing website that matches patients with doctors and has received rave reviews from all the constituents it serves.

Cyrus Massoumi, CEO and founder of ZocDoc

Cyrus Massoumi, CEO and founder of ZocDoc

But the company is not only being praised by its customers. It also is seen as a huge success by its employees, being voted in 2010 by Crain's New York Business as the best place to work in New York City.

"It's all about having the right people who add value to the culture and the business," Massoumi says. "We want everyone to behave like an owner of the company."

ZocDoc has nearly doubled its staff every six months, growing from three to 100 employees. While that kind of rapid growth is the entrepreneur's dream, it also creates problems and requires the difficult transition from being someone with a great idea to someone who can be a great manager.

Many startups approach this challenge improperly, with management terrified of giving up control of what they have devoted their lives to, but experts insist that the founder who gives up control, or who at least can accept his limitations as a manager, has a much better chance of watching his business blossom into the next big thing. More

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