It takes time to build a great team; some say it is an art. If and when you decide to seek funding for your startup, the quality and synergy of your team will be paramount to investors.Jonah, the CEO of an off-shore textile startup, considered himself “a good judge of people.” Jonah based his decisions on resumes, first impressions and less so on the basics. So certain of his intuition and short on time, Jonah acted quickly often neglecting to check references until after an offer was accepted.Jonah lamented that about half of his choices of candidates resulted in a wide range of problems including customer complaints, insubordination and theft— time, money and reputation busters for a startup.Intuition plays a role, but consider a few basics to round out the decision-making process:Qualifications – do they have the right skills and experience? How have they demonstrated competence? Have they previously worked for startups and, if not, are they aware of the unique demands of startups in terms of compensation, flexible work hours, travel, etc.?Check references early in the interview process.( See the mini-chapter called ”The Art of Reference Checking” in The Art of the Start 2.0 by Guy Kawasaki)Do they understand and believe in your mission? Get them to elaborate on that one.Have they good people skills? Are they likeable, collaborative and communicative? What is their track record with customer service?Have you a valuable new hire who needs coaching in the people skills department? I can help. Contact me at [email protected]
Emotional self-regulation is an essential core skill for a founder. When challenges mount up, vulnerabilities are unveiled that could sabotage your ability to make good decisions, listen mindfully and get back on track.For the sake of your startup, know the options for managing your emotions. Here are three routes to consider:Feeling stressed, tired and aggravated a lot more lately? Is this is a problem you can solve yourself? Are you taking time to relax and re-center yourself? Are you getting good quality sleep and exercise? Can you identify the root of your distress and make the needed adjustments?Perhaps your anxiety and low mood are due to weaknesses in your executive functioning, communication or leadership skills? Coaching can help. However, a good coach knows when a client needs more than coaching and will direct you to more appropriate services.Emotional problems stemming from chronic depression, mood swings, insomnia, trauma and dysfunctional relationships are best treated with therapy with or without medication. If you neglect self-care or are drawn to addictive behaviors, these are also good reasons to seek a psychologist or mental health professional as soon as possible.For more information on CoreCoaching, contact me at [email protected]. For a qualified psychotherapist, check out the therapy directory at www.PsychologyToday.com.
A few years ago, I participated in a short course for entrepreneurs on pitching an idea. My job was to help these founders speak their pitch in a confident and leader-like fashion. However, it took the majority of the session to get these very technically savvy and driven founders to clarify their concept into words that the average customer or investor could understand.Can you clearly explain your startup or business idea to someone not in your industry in about 30 seconds? This means you have to boil down your concept to bare bones, no jargon or complex technical terms. This length of time is in step with the average person’s attention span. This equates to about 4 medium length sentences spoken at a modest pace to allow for any listener to process.Test your ability to convey your idea as intended. Ask five people who know nothing of your idea to participate in this exercise. Write up a 30 second explanation of what your startup does and read it aloud to 5 people. Ask them to tell you back how they understand it. Compare their answers to what you think you said.Need help condensing your message into one in which stakeholders can understand? Reach out to me at [email protected]
At some point in your life, you’ll need to set aside time to manage a health concern or a crisis. It may be for you, a family member or a close friend. Either way, it will interrupt the flow of your venture, so it’s good to be on the ready. My lapse in posting much […]
Aside from unfavorable market dynamics or insufficient due diligence, investors will back out of a deal if they: 1) sense a lack of trust or discontent between team members. Savvy investors will pick up on the vibes between team members by the way they communicate in person and online. 2) sense dishonesty or intentionally unrealistic […]