In every startup, the founders come together; face all of the challenges together hoping one day to be funded and be able to change the industry. They want to be able to change the user's life to such an extent that they are a name associated with success and achievements.
In this journey, very few founders do actually realise what is coming towards them along with investments and investors, money and scale up, team and growth.
Here, I aim at offering the top three survival tools for co-founders which play a key role in making it through this post investment phase.
Tool 1 - STATE OF MIND
Understand each other's state of mind and what have they seen Investments as.
Founders assume that the state of mind which, knowingly or unknowingly, played a key role for the founders during the years they struggled will keep them going after the funding as well. After receiving the funding they feel that they have won the wars so far and nothing can ever change that. Its a lie...
The first thing which changes, as a team and as an individual with money is the State of Mind. Every founder has a unique take of the situation. Before the money comes in, the goal is only to get funded and all of the other differences are not noticed as much. Once the money is pumped into the company, the differences begin to shine through. Suddenly their thoughts are different, and so are their perspectives on the investments receive. For the founders, talking about this repeatedly (sometimes fighting and arguing helps; it is then that the co-founders are most vulnerable and clarity emerges) and coming back to a one point agenda; the right thing for the startup. This will enable a clear way forward for the co-founders to understand each other, work and help each other, and proceed to the next level of their startup.
Some different thoughts which occur;
- We have been funded, fuelled up, time to go forward with full force.
- We have been funded, we need to be careful, watch each step and decision forward from here
- Nothing much changes, money has never been important for us, for me, my co-founders are the board and nothing must ever change, we proceed the way we always did
All three correct and all three wrong…
These three are example of the different state of minds co-founders have as the funding is done and it is important, that this is understood by each other. That it is discussed time and again and it is given a fair amount of thought process. This will help reach a conclusion which is heard, understood and believed by all. Taking the above three co-founders example, the state of mind for the three becomes;
We have been funded, fuelled and we proceed with a strong pace forward, which is intelligently thought out and executed the right way, making sure that the board, processes and structure is properly laid down.
TOOL 2 - Who, why & what is a Board?
From the beginning founders consider themselves to be the board, so with investors coming on board, acceptance jointly is a must.
Founders consider themselves the generals, fighting hard to conquer the fort across the battle field. They may have been beaten down, picked each other up and taken bullets for each other and done all that it takes to be in a place where the funding has happened. Then suddenly, they are in a situation; having to understand this new general, who suddenly comes in with his/her strategies, plans and thought processes. It takes a while to get that new entry figured out. Get to accept that the flag of success needs to fly high, even if the fighting team has to figure all this out.
Board members, must always be those people, those selected people, who have the capability to put the well being of the company ahead of their own. It may mean that some of the founders have to step down from the board and perhaps one of the investors with minimum shareholding must be on the board. It has to be someone who would be ready to accept and take losses for him/herself but be in a place to look beyond his profits/losses and powers/ego for the startup.
A board with members who can keep all that aside and look, think, work beyond all this with just one focus of taking the startup to the next level, he/she very well deserves the place on the board, not keeping consideration of shareholding, role and performance
TOOL 3 - More Investment after Investment
If you think, as founders, that once you raise a chunk of investment, you are set for a successful startup. Think again!
As Startup Founders, once you have been funded; if you think that would be good to take you across the "Finish Line", you are totally and absolutely wrong. Leave that thought back right now.
Money makes money, money follows money and without a doubt MONEY NEEDS MORE MONEY...
Founders to survive investments, must be very clear that, it is the start of the needs, it is the beginning of a chain of investments, the wheels begin to roll, which will keep moving on and on as the scale up happens, as success keeps coming closer to your grasp.
So get into the game well prepared that it is not enough, it is never enough and it is okay to be not enough. That is why an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur, because it is NEVER ENOUGH...