The first four questions for the company founder

Original author: Marco Greenberg
  • Transfer
Before me is your profile. You're twenty with something, or maybe a little over thirty. You start your first business, the runway ends, and your business will either fly up or crash and burn.

Takeoff plane

You clearly know the first steps: to build a team, attracting the best people, start earning income from anchor customers, get partners who will talk about you. Or, perhaps, you are still refining your positioning and honing the product in the hope of providing another round of investment.

All this is necessary to launch a company. But these are not the bricks from which the startup is built. The most important first steps are not operational at all, but rather psychological. Not rational decisions, but to a greater extent building relationships and experimenting.

Listen to yourself: is entrepreneurship part of your DTC? Is Uncle Work a nightmare for you? Does the taste of success fill you with pride? Does fear of failure wake you up at night?

I have no ready-made answers. But I can join the words of country star Waylon Jennings : “I’m a bit older than you, baby. That's it. ” . In general, after almost 20 years of working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and launching several of my own companies, I made a list of four questions that are useful to answer if you are planning to start your own business.

1. What allows you to fulfill long-term obligations?I'm not talking about how to be positive, passionate, or to have business charm. It’s hard to stay that way after many days of disappointment in trying to take the company off the ground. But we are talking about the crazy stamina that you will need to hold on to the field of entrepreneurship.
Many years ago, a guy named Daniel came to my office for advice. He struck me with a sharpness of mind, a creative nature and limitless idealism with a bit of naivety. I lost sight of him and only recently discovered that it was that Daniel who is now behind one of my favorite brands. After 15 years of struggle, full of doubt, triumphs and retreats Daniel Lubezki launched production of KIND bars and turned them into one of the most popular foods. In his new book, Do the KIND Thing, he wrote about the courage that enabled him to go that route.

2. What lane do you drive? Some people have wonderful abilities for certain types of business. My friend Dave Schwartz, founder of Rent-A-Wreck , brilliant in everything that relates to cars, real estate and warehousing - these are his offline achievements. But he does not pretend to what he does not understand, and he is cool in the ability to stay on his “lane”. Dave warns about such a category of people who have achieved some success, and now believe that they are "invulnerable and know everything about everything." The road may be wide, but stick to areas and skills that are part of your nature. It’s better to do what you do than to fall into a dubious category.

3. Do you know which people you should hire first?Forget about the first full-time employees. Often, even before you find a co-founder, you will need an experienced accountant, lawyer and insurer. It is these external professional advisors that allow us to lay a solid foundation for a sustainable business.
Earlier this year, my long-time accountant, Steve Frutik , suddenly died . I was in complete disarray, as were his countless other clients. Of course, he helped us with paying taxes, but this is less, for which we appreciated him. We did not take a single step without it - from building a compensation package for employees to concluding commercial transactions. Client friends aptly called Steve "our financial rabbi." Do you have such a “rabbi”?

4. Does your entrepreneurial spirit find support and understanding in your “second half”?The irony is that there is a person who is most important to you, but usually you don’t even work with him (or her). It's about your husband, wife, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. A new friend of mine decided not to meet with anyone until his business got stronger. I did not agree with him. The presence of a faithful person next to you consolidates success and brings life to balance if he (or she) provides support and nourishes your dream, and does not call you to safe office work “for uncle”.
Being not as insensitive to risk as you, your “second half” knows how to go through the ups and downs, knows how to value achievements, while at the same time reminding you and your startup are not the center of the universe. Sometimes, when everything around collapses, your partner may urge you to take a break and just find a job that allows you to pay bills. But together you never lose faith in your ability to create something of your own.

Here's a word for you in case you forget these tips: Alps (those that are the mountain range). Being the founder of a company is like climbing to the top. Having gained a foothold, you will look back to understand how high you climbed, and you will realize that this is the most exciting trip in the world. ∎

Alpine mountains

About the author: Marco Greenberg, President, Thunder11 is a marketing communications boutique located in Manhattan. Successfully launched startups for a number of well-known entrepreneurs, business angels, venture funds and Fortune 500 companies.

Photos: Paul Nelhams , Petar Milošević

From a translator: this is my first experience in translating articles. I would be grateful for the feedback and recommendations, whether in the comments or in PM.

Also popular now: