You have a great idea for a new product or new service? You believe that there is a strong potential market for this new concept you just invented? You even thought about a business model that would provide you with enduring ressources and ensure the sustainability of your company?
So go for it! Create your business before another is in the idea. The creation of startup is not confined to Silicon Valley!
But simultaneously take a little time to think about both resources that you will miss the most, and give you the means to find them ...
Money and hindsight, two vital needs
Startups need money, that's obvious. Starting a new product or innovative service, developing it, puting it on the market and leting it be known worldwide, require funds. And it is often impossible to do it gradually. You must prepare discreetly and, then, immediately hit a great shot, otherwise you risk being overtaken even before having really started in the race. That's why startups are so keen on venture capital, business angels or…crowdfunding. To get a chance to win, you have to bet, and sometimes you have to bet heavy.
But this is not the only need they have. There is another one, maybe a bit less obvious but equally vital. Let us listen to Steve Jobs: "When you are in a start-up, the first ten people you recruit determine the success or failure of your business. [...] Innovation has nothing to do with the dollars you invest in R & D [...] These are the people you have, how you lead and how you are involved." Who better than the creator of the Apple empire could provide such a praise for people-management, even in a startup? I say "even in a startup" because it is common to hear that thinking about management can wait till the company grows. This is not true. Management starts with the first hiring. Managing successfully, as well as hiring successfully, involves thinking ahead and larger than the product or service you create. Managing successfully implies thinking thoroughly about the fundamentals of the business you started, the core values you want to install in your company, its core purpose beyond its first market access, its development strategy, and the needs in human resources that entails. A paper in Fortune magazine in September 2014, based on post-mortem analysis of 101 startups, highlighted that, just behind the lack of market and the lack of cash, the third reason for failure was "a bad team", followed by a list of ten reasons – among them, the disagreement between investors, burnout – that a "good management" would have avoided. I often hear : "We'll see that later". Would it really be a good idea to delay working on the foundations of the building you build till you will be laying the third floor ?
Don’t stay alone with your management
A startup creator is not necessarily a born manager. As he is not always an expert in financing. But, as startups creators usually accept to be accompanied by finance experts, it is on the contrary very rare to see them being accompanied by a professional coach!
However, who better than a professional coach, used to accompanying leaders and companies at different stages of development, could better bring useful hindsight to the creator, mirroring in a demanding, but friendly, and even empathetic fashion, the day-to-day decisions which actually encompass the future of the company, thus enabling the creator to correct or amplify those actions in order to build sound foundations for lasting success?
The first years after the creation of a company aspiring to grow quickly are harsh for the leader. Stress, overwork, loneliness in decision making - it has not yet a C-suite to assist him - may undermine his health, but the passion usually allows it to override. However, these same factors undermine his lucidity, and to this, his passion can do nothing. Only the discipline of taking, on a regular basis, moments hindsight can be an antidote. Hindsight is as vital for a start-up as invested money is. If you have the genius of Steve Jobs, of Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page, maybe will you get there alone. Is it so sure? Even Mark Zuckerberg was accompanied, if we are to believe The Social Network. And Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, was. He even says that “have a coach” is the best piece of advice he ever got!
From venture capital to venture intelligence
A good professional coach is expensive. So even knowing, through statistics, that being accompanied by a good coach increases by about 50% the chances of survival to five years in the business, startuppers prefer devote their often scarce resources to product development or marketing activities. How could we solve this paradox? By putting in action "venture intelligence" on the model of venture capital!
What is “venture intelligence”?
The coach's job is to help you get the most out of your brain and that of your teams. Manage for success means having the sum of brains in your young company produce more intelligence than the pure arithmetic leads to. This is a true strategic resource for you to manage, and your coach can help you manage it efficiently.
That's why we created a specific economic model for start-ups: we don’t invest money, but we invest our intelligence, to help you grow yours. As with a venture capital company, our model implies that, when you have successfully put your business on the orbit of success, we will participate in sharing the financial benefits of your success. We can only win if you win!
It is time that, in our society where we talk every day of the knowledge economy, startuppers realize that bringing money to their business, without being helped to manage people well, is only the simplest half of the work. Still not sure? Contact us. We take the risks together.