After 27 years of founding 2 companies and investing in circa 20 here are 10 uncomfortable truths every founder should know:
1. There is no such thing as work / life balance building a startup. The work life balance preachers have either already made it or they won't make it. Outstanding results require hard work.
*Well we totally agree with that, and we also like to add that as there is no such thing as work / life balance. What we have learned at DSRPTD and even from previous experiences that its more of a work / life integration.
2. The ultimate responsibility of your board is to hire or fire the CEO. Think carefully about giving board seats away, and more carefully about who you agree to give those seats to.
*Our additional note: As Aswath Damodaran puts it "As a startup you always need the CEO role to be a story teller".
3. You are responsible for you company's finances. Not your CFO. Not your accountant.
4. If you don't know the metrics you will not get funded. Get intimate with the core metrics of your startup. You should know them at all times. Without knowing them you cannot hold your team accountable and you cannot raise money.
5. Recruiters' incentives and almost never aligned with your company long-term. Take ownership of the hiring process. Put the work in to build an attractive culture and find the right candidates.
6. If a hire doesn't work out, it's your fault. It is never the candidate or hiring manager's fault. Either you did not design the right hiring process or the on-boarding process failed.
7. If your target customer can't understand your value proposition in 10 seconds: you do not have a business.
8. If you cannot sell, your startup will die. Selling is a critical skill to securing talent, customers and investors.
9. If you are not measuring something, you are not managing it. Create accountability for yourself and your team through measuring what's important.
10. Seasonality is not an excuse when you're a startup. Not only are you a tiny fraction of the market but if there is a seasonal impact on your market you should know about it and be able to plan to mitigate it.
Worth mentioning that Sleem Hasan Founder and CEO of Privity aka The Father of Startups, championed DSRPTD 2021's stage back then for a masterclass on Startup Valuation which is now part of the DSRPTD MBA online programme. Check it here.
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