How I became an investor
This story will not have expensive cars, glossy blondes on ocean yachts and generally a lot of money. The topic is not directly related to IT, except that the author is an inveterate IT-person who has gone from a
Once, sitting in a nightly summer cafe on the seashore with my wife, to her question, who would you like to be in ten years, I, without thinking too much, answered - an investor. But, as they say, if God wants to laugh at us, he fulfills our desires.
So, having crossed the Rubicon and the crisis of 30 years, realizing the aimlessness of the then existence, being in a state of free flight, rested and specifically tired of almost idleness, I became an investor. After the accumulation of the “parachute” and the subsequent dismissal, some free funds remained. And at that moment She appeared on the horizon! A girl from a rather specific field of consulting, with immense ambitions, locomotive traction and inexhaustible energy. The girl was strongly pressed at work and she nurtured the ideas of dismissal. For completeness, the girl’s name
When my wife (a pro in the same field) tried to attach her to one of the companies I knew, I said “stop”! And why do we need someone else’s company if we can open our own right now. Thinking. We considered the alignment, finances. Apparently, it turned out that you could risk a little money on an office salary and open a business. And there is a ready gender who is already digging the ground with hoofs and is ready to turn mountains.
A very important point, which later played a key role, was that neither my wife nor I were going to work in this company, i.e. it was a purely investment project. The sphere, intersecting with the competencies of my wife, was for me a dark forest. Nevertheless, I knew that Anya would succeed (and I was not mistaken in this).
At the start
Immediately a beautiful picture appeared in my head, how I invest money, the company grows and works for me. And I rightly leave most of the profit for the development and promotion of the best employees, and in small things myself: for a car, a house and other pleasant things. Oh, how badly I was mistaken ... Later I found out that such investments are called investments in people. And the risks are associated with precisely these people. The risk that something will happen to them. I perfectly understood this risk. And, looking ahead, it was precisely this risk that materialized. But then this could not be the reason not to start this business. And we started.
They invited Anya, voiced the alignment: your 40% of the business, the position of general, fix 100K and premiums on the results. With us - guarantees for the payment of salaries and money for other operating expenses. I did not have to persuade for a long time. Next came the exciting and enjoyable process of registering and creating an LLC, choosing an office, buying office equipment, coming up with a name, and choosing a logo. With her, Anna brought assistant Lena to the company.
The first month or two was rather nervous - periodically money was added to the company “to maintain pants”, however, the first contracts quickly made the balance positive. The specificity of the region is that one average contract can cover the monthly expenses of a small company of 2-3 people.
The next 3-4 months, the business gained momentum, Anya gnawed at the granite of the market with her teeth and punched her head in the subway. By 3 months, the first very serious client appeared. But in order to conclude a contract, it was necessary to take the first step, having piled decently money on the preparation of work, which was done. By 4 months, a seven-figure amount received from the client appeared on the balance sheet of the company. Immediately in a wave of generosity, Ana was issued an advance payment of more than a two-month salary, the employees were paid an annual gym and other buns. The end of the year was drawing near.
During this time, there was one curious incident. I must say that despite the position of general, Ani's main work was direct sales. And then she was a genius. A velvety voice and a spectacular appearance with deep knowledge of the subject area and remarkable intelligence did their job.
Of course, there was not much time left for leadership, but how much leadership is needed in a company of 3 people? The third was another girl, Nick, who was taken “in acquaintance” as a ready-made salesman. But, despite the lack of fear of cold calls and the accompanying negativity, Nick did not bring a single contract to the company for 3 months and was dismissed based on the results of the trial period. For the first time he fired the girls from work, you need to give her credit - she withstood with honor, without tears and insults. In this story, a classic HR mistake was made - they took a person and came up with a job for him, and not vice versa.
At the same time, I deliberately did not go into the management, only gently prompted and broadcast the experience, while simultaneously working as an administrator and site developer for free in my own business.
The new year was approaching, and Anya reasonably noticed that it was time to share the profit. But to my question, how much profit the company has, it unfortunately could not answer. As it turned out, financial accounting in the company was not kept almost at all. Yes, Elba was connected, an accountant was hired, but all the nuances of contracts, expenses and margins were not taken into account. Then I rolled up my sleeves and began to collect all the information. By the end of the year, I had complete information on contracts, a financial model, and a forecast for next year. The model showed that we are now in a small profit, but the risks under the contracts almost exceed the current balance by an order of magnitude. New Year's prizes and gifts were purely symbolic, and I thought hard that CFOs were probably not in vain eating their bread. Ana was told that in connection with all these problems, there will be no bonuses to NG, and this unfortunately did not find understanding. This fact was the first alarm bell: the gender refused to accept the numbers of dry calculation, relying on his feeling that she was "underdone".
We started the year with a modest budget and hope for the future. January, as expected, closed in the red, if February-March were the same, the company could have gone bankrupt. But Anechka again worked a miracle, pulling out a couple of very serious contracts, which again made the balance seven-figure and my calculations arrived positive. However, the meticulously calculated profit and the six-figure premium did not impress the general at all, and this was the second loud call.
It should be noted that the multi-valued amounts on the account, of course, were not a net profit. Because activity meant the lion's share of mediation, out of 100 rubles received to the account, about 70 had to be given to subcontractors. However, these funds in the account made it possible to feel free and get involved in new and new contracts. Uncontrolled unwinding of this spiral could lead the company to the fact that a failure under just one major contract would drive the company to a minus, preventing it from fulfilling current obligations. This has not happened yet, but this prospect bothered me very much.
Meanwhile, my investigations into financial activities began to be perceived as unnecessary digging in my underwear, and premiums of half a month's profit - as miserable handouts. And then another problem surfaced. That I’m not doing anything for the company, but I demand order and my money. Here is such a materialized risk of the investor. The second problem was that Anya considered the business her own, and for me, by an absurd combination of circumstances, was an extra anchor and a burden. I agree, there is a certain logic in this - she created the company, she brought all the money. But after all there are rights of remitters in the end. In short, the classic conflict of the owner and employee. The last blow was Ani's demand for a revision of shares in the business, so that she would have a majority.
However, the story is not over yet, the business is in a state of partition, this can be read in the next article. In this interesting place, let me take my leave.