Startups are fast – paced, small and ever-adaptive, and carry a great deal of risk for participants. Often they are built around the vision of only one or two people. These founders must be mentally indefatigable, steadfast believers in their product, and able to stay one step ahead, after all you are not the only one with the idea.
Transactional leaders excel in well established businesses where they work within a pre-established system. They complain about the management.
Transformational leaders shift the paradigm. They are often startup founders and entrepreneurs. In this case, the founders are the management.
Founders must deal with:
• Doubt – He/She is responsible for putting up a confident front in public, but does their idea really stand out?
• Bankruptcy – Founders often invest everything they have in their own idea, with no idea whether or not there will be a return.
• Loneliness – They are the management, and at the tip/top of the food chain, they don’t have many peers.
• Fears of Failure – Lost money, wasted time, ruined reputation are just a few of the fears of founders.
• Inescapable situation – Your workers can find other jobs. When the ship sinks you’re left with the three-
year lease on your building, remaining property or debt.
But as a group, founders play by their own rules. Many founders are hypomanic and fanatically believe in their own idea.
When the going gets rough, many founders can do it all…
What a founder should be able to do:
o Write Code
o Build a server
o Design a splash page
o Assemble an email blast
o Develop and track a funnel
o Make decisions off cohort tracking
o Write a blog post
o Deliver a keynote
o Build Links
o Conduct customer interviews
o Segment a market
o Understand a term sheet
o Recruit and Train
o Train an intern
o Hire A Players
o Replace B Players
o Analyze a balance sheet
o Make a budget
o Ignore a budget
o Balance the books
o Stay up 36 hours straight
o Find a mentor
o Stay creative
o Act alone
Startup founder quotes:
“I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.” Bill Gates, co-founder, Microsoft
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.” Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple
“You jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn
“Think big. Start Small. Iterate quickly.” Slava Rubin, founder, Indiegogo
“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not making decisions.” Catherine Cook, Founder, MeetMe
But as many founders know, that’s often not enough.
• 75% of startups fail, with 30% being complete failures in which even the founders lose equity and
everything is sold off to pay creditors.
• Many other just have no exit plan, don’t scale well, etc.
Inspiration-> Concept -> Prototype
1. Bootstrap (using the money, time and expertise of the founders)
2. Angel investors (single investors that believe in the idea)
3. Venture Capital (generally more than angel investors, with mentorship, feedback, incubator opportunities
Beta Launch-> feedback -> public launch
2. Exit plan
o Trade, sell
o Go Public
o Continued growth
• Not knowing the product/market fit
• Most startups fail not from product development, but from lack of consumer interest
• Wasting money on premature scaling.
• Renegotiating share of business
• No exit plan