That’s the idea behind guest writer Thomas Knauff’s new article in Entrepreneur.com online magazine. And although Mr. Knauff is in his sixties and has logged 21 years between his first and latest startup ventures, his ideas are valuable to entrepreneurs of all ages. Here are his main points:
1. Seek out investors who know your industry
“We looked for partners who would make their investment decisions based on industry drivers and our longer-term growth prospects, and not the short-term pressures of a VC or PE fund investment cycle.” If your investors are not knowledgeable about your industry, you may get blindsided or undercut by differing expectations and time horizons.
2. Embrace the nuance of your company’s finances
“Without finance, nothing else matters because the resources won’t be there to make it happen.” Hard to say it any better than this! Take the time to really understand the financial details.
3. Learn everything about your sales operation
“Everything that happens in a company depends on someone selling something.” It’s critical to understand the sales cycle and the factors driving your customers’ purchase decisions.
4. Do something that reflects your personal values and motivations
“Deep commitments can keep you going during the toughest days.” Most entrepreneurs have lots of tough days!
5. Become a student of the organizational dynamic, that is, how people behave and react to one another
“The organizational dynamic is pivotal to the success of every entrepreneurial venture; many leaders cast it aside as something to attend to later...and most investors think it’s fluff because they can’t calculate its value relative to EBITDA.” However, anyone who has looked at a newspaper or tuned in to the news recently has been struck by how many organizations are struggling with cultural issues, sexism, and inter-generational forces. Don’t wait to address these issues!