I like working with the “right” first-time entrepreneurs. I am a bit weird and these first-time entrepreneurs are a bit weird too. So it’s a great combination 🙂 Many of them, unfortunately, are under-rated because they have not “done it” before. Agreed, they don’t have the experience or past successes. However, there is a strong possibility that some of their other attributes they bring can more than make up for the lack of experience.
Here are few of those attributes that you won’t be able to “find” in the business plan.
1. Hunger: Some of these people such a “hunger” to make it happen that other people on the sidelines can only imagine. Their hunger will give them that additional power and energy to go where they want to go.
2. Commitment: There are two types. One, commitment to their purpose in life and the other – commitment to the cause of the company. If the person can connect the two together – meaning if their venture leads towards fulfilling their life purpose, you can see pure magic.
3. Connections: Some people have those golden connections that others will die for. Long-term relationships are an unfair advantage and it’s good! I have seen entrepreneurs where their former bosses have funded them and backed them up to the point of winning the first few deals. I have seen entrepreneurs who have got their first few deals from former colleagues or clients from their previous employers – all because they proved in their earlier life that they are valuable and trustworthy.
4. Tenacity: They don’t have the experience to know when to give up. They can continue to chug along when the world thinks that it is a mute point to continue.
5. Higher Risk Appetite: Many first-time entrepreneurs leave jobs that are high-paying and (??) secure. When they walk into a startup, they have assume a huge risk. If they are venture funded, then the statistics are not in their favor – 9 out of ten companies bite the dust. If they are not venture funded, then lack of money is already a risk 🙁 In the face of this and many other risks, they take the plunge.
6. Support system: Alone, they may not have the capacity to act but some of these people have excellent support systems in the form of friends, family members, current and former colleagues or advisors that will volunteer (in most cases for no money) to help them out.
7. Investment in themselves: Some of these people invest time and money to educate themselves to be ready for the ever-changing marketplace. Personally, I don’t work with anyone who is not making those kinds of investments. Reason: Even if those people succeed, it will only be a short-term success. I can’t build long-term relationships with people who are looking at only their next venture.
8. Open to coaching: Everyone needs help – it is just that some people don’t acknowledge it or they are not aware of it. If someone thinks that they don’t need help, it is difficult to offer them help as they may feel insulted. On the other hand, it is a breeze to work with people who know that they need help and they are coachable. Good thing is that help is available in plenty today. It is mostly our unwillingness to ask for it and lack of power to attract help from other powerful people.
9. Creativity: Financing, deal making, recruiting or anything in a startup for that matter can be spiced up with creativity. If you dig deeper, some of these people would have demonstrated unparalleled creativity in their jobs with former employers or while serving in other capacities in non-profits that they would have been involved.
Have a great Thursday.
Thanks to Guy for helping me refine some ideas in the above post. Guy wrote THE book on startups, so it’s an honor.