fm Entrepreneur.com 12 Aug 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Hands-On approach. When starting a new business, the Founder has to take a “hands-on” role. Because there are so many unknowns, and things are happening so fast, this is no time to delegate or hire outside consultants to handle core functions. Founders need to see, touch & feel, all the key elements of a new business as it evolves, much like an artist renders a new painting or sculpture. Once the outline & core of a new sculpture is complete, assistants & experts can step in – even under contract, to finish the piece. In the context of a startup, there are many “hands-on” attributes that every entrepreneur must demonstrate – and enjoy – if s/he hopes to succeed in building a new business. These include the following:
1. Great Ideas & Innovative Actions. The best startup Founders are ready & able, to roll up their sleeves, jump into any issue and contribute – whether it’s business related or technical, no matter how much expertise team members may possess. The best Founders know how to pull the best out of others for the good of the organization.
2. Communicate a clear Vision, and the Path to it. This means a Founder needs the ability to attract the right people to a team & motivate them. Then the Vision must be translated into a set of tasks to match the skills of the people who can make the vision real. The Founder needs to be a mentor & advisor, as well as the leader.
3. Build Relationships in/out of company. Startup Founders who are either loners or dictator usually burn out or make big mistakes. The ability to nurture relationships, and know when & how to use them, is paramount to success. Relationships only work if they are “win-win”, so understanding the person’s needs is key.
4. Track & Measure – long & short-term Objectives. Translating Vision into a plan, milestones & metrics is a key responsibility of every entrepreneur. All of these should be updated – at least quarterly – based on feedback & results from customers, and communicated to the team on a regular basis.
5. Able to Adapt or even radical Change to respond to the market. Every startup I’m aware of, has had to change, no matter how elegant the initial plan. Did you know that both Facebook & YouTube started out as dating sites? Founders who are close enough to the front lines, are required to listen to market feedback and be savvy enough to respond to it.
6. Provide constructive Feedback & growth Opportunities for the Team. Individual team member reviews, cannot be delegated or moved to the bottom of your priority list. Founders who are consistent & predictable in managing accountability across the team, including hiring & firing, consistently generate the most loyalty & results.
7. Accept Accountability for all decisions, with no excuses. The best entrepreneurs give everyone around them credit for the successes, and take full responsibility for all the failures. They learn to delegate effectively, hire people smarter than they are, & put processes in place so that the business is able to run independently of their presence. The best startup Founders actually relish their “hands-on” role in building & selling their solutions, but don’t back away from the business decisions & administrative responsibilities either. They enjoy the camaraderie of the team, but are normally tough task-masters. They build relationships that often last a lifetime, even with competitors and investors.
Summary. Running a startup can be an intense & stressful experience, so rolling up your sleeves should be seen as a way to diffuse the pressure, build your skills & avoid the loneliness at the top. Investors & major customers are quick to spot and support the startup Founder who is clearly working “in & on” the business and having fun at the same time. Do you fit that mold?
Comments: Do you have any other Ideas of the Role of a Founder?