Why do some companies “bureaucratize, slow down, lose direction and lose momentum while others do not?”
According to extensive research by Bain, about 85% of the time, the root causes are internal and track back to a lack of what they call the Founder Mentality – three sets of traits and behaviours that are required for growth and continued success.
The first of these three elements of the founder’s mentality is “an insurgent mission,” that defines how companies differentiate outside and inspire inside.
A powerful mission (or vision as I prefer to call it) is essential to give a startup direction and to inspire movement and momentum. A ‘north star’. Equally, the vision is emphatically not about the company itself but stands for something bigger. A higher purpose. A vision is about and for the ideal customer, not the company. Please the customer and the company benefits just as night follows day.
In my private client work, helping to define the vision is as rewarding (for the startup) as it is challenging. Get that right and everything else flows.
Being able to tell good stories well is an essential skill for startup founders. It’s the key to getting funded, attracting and keeping great teams and customers. “Faul shares the nuts and bolts tactics of influential storytelling he’s learned at Google, Facebook and as Head of Operations at Pinterest and the three types of stories every manager and startup founder should be able to tell fluently.”
Storytelling is the CEO’s Job
Andy Raskin coaches leaders in storytelling and he’s convinced that CEOs are best placed to tell the most important stories.
What I’d Change
Rand Fishkin is founder of Moz and someone I have the utmost respect for. He writes here about the lessons he’s learned along the way of building and growing a successful marketing technology company. He focuses on things he’d change, do the same and isn’t yet sure about. An absolute must-read for any startup founder.
Shabih Rizvi, partner at KPCB walks us through the options for early-stage funding, and three key pieces of advice: 1) Don’t stress about the macro-funding environment, great companies can take-off regardless, 2) Focus on customers and getting to product-market fit, 3) Know that investors invest in people, not pitch decks.
Ameeth Sankaran, partner at 2M Companies, explains what a Family Office is, how they are different from other types investor, how and why to use them.
Questions for VCs
Doing More With Branches
Citizens Financial invited 325,000 customers to attend an in-person financial check-up at their branches. 80,000 accepted so far. Astonishing. Just shows that branches can remain relevant and deepen customer relationships at the same time.
What is OpenBazaar?
OpenBazaar is a decentralized network for trade. No company or organization controls the network. All trade is done directly between peers. No middlemen means no fees and no censorship. Now they have clarified their values. Fascinating and one to watch. Especially in the light of a post-Brexit (more global free-trade?) world.
Mitch Joel relates two great points made by Tim O’Reilly at this years Startup Festival. 1) “The future happens very slowly. Then, all at once.”, and 2) “It’s a failure of imagination to think that AI (or something) else is going to replace us.”
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Image: Nancy Kamergorodsky