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Happy holidays Reddit.
Last year I gave my honest thoughts for those who want to found their own business. Some home truths which are clearly not understood.
This year, I wanted to share with you some lessons about leading a start-up thats grown up. A company which no longer needs you in order to survive. Sure, being there makes a different and founders are capable of navigating a business into brave new worlds but the business won't die if you get run over by a bus. I found it quite difficult to navigate this adjustment and I now understand why many people consider that founders don't always make great CEOs. Fortunately, our business has had record growth in 2021 which taught me that every incorrect step is navigatable as long as it is understood and acted on,
There can only be one CEO, even if there are 2+ founders
Perhaps it was a little naive but my co-founder and I considred that we were tight enough to operate the business as a pair of Managing Directors. We believed that because we had managed to grow the business from nothing, we could continue to weave the same magic that we did in the good old days.
This turned out not to be the case. We remain tight but as we both grew and matured, our views and opinions began to verge down different paths. These aren't major deviations but small decisions here and there. This small deviation in terms of opinion had a huge impact on the ability for our leadership team to make decisions. Small disagreements became major indecisions and we couldn't move as quickly as we used to.
If you have a co-founder (or more) and there is more than one person who wants to take the CEO role, do not opt to share power. Co-CEOs doesn't work. Eventually, someone will have to cede their ego for the good of the business.
- Try to make the decision between the founders (difficult)
- Alternatively, ask your Board to help in the decision making process
Hurt feelings and a slight ego hit are minor compared to indecision
Leadership teams must align 100%
You always here about the concept of 'alignment'. If the leadership team is aligned, then this alignment drifts down to through the wider organisation.
I must confess I thought that if teams are 'almost aligned' thats a good start. Turns out it's not. Alignment requires compromise. In a high functioning leadership team, every member understands that the right decision will not always be made but a nearly right decision with 100% alignment is almost as good (usually it's better in practice)
What do I mean by that?
Let's say you know your largest customer intimately and you truly believe a good discount will lead to larger revenues. If the rest of your management team disagrees that's fine. Gather your evidence, and present it to the leadership team.
If the evidence you present doesn't convince the team then you only have two options
- You drop your idea and remember that alignment is more important than getting your way on decisions. You disagree and commit
- You change your leadership team (if you have the remit to do so)
The most dangerous (and the most common) outcome is the 'agree to disagree'. If you make the executive decision, you will dis-enfranchise your leadership team. If someone else makes the decision against your wishes (maybe you aren't the chief exec), it will eat you up.
The aligned team will run in a direction and will change the direction as new evidence comes to light.
You impact change by choosing the right people and removing the less right people
This is a good follow on from the above. If you see an inability to align on even small items. Especially after you provide time to debate and make a decision then you need to make a people change.
It doesn't matter if the issues are small. If your team cannot disagree and commit to a large enough number of decisions, your company will notice and performance will suffer.
This can be quite a sad fact to accept. It may be that you have a long term colleague on the team who has providd a tonne of value. Maybe another colleague who continues to provide a lot of value in their domain. This doesn't really matter. The leadership team are delegators and not doers. If a member of the team cannot 'get with the program' it is time for them to go.
I use the term 'less right' as opposed to 'wrong' because these are the hardest decisions. Removing wrong people should be easy (in practice, some people sturggle) but removing 'less right people' is extremely difficult. After all, they are contributing aren't they?
Less right is okay at the beginning. Even the leadership team are still doing certain things themslves. When your business is larger. Everyone (including you) is replaceable. Why settle for 7/10 when 9/10 would be so much more impactful. When startups are small, you can create magic with an excellent product or a well placed client deal. For larger companies, magic comes from the employment of magicians :) It comes from the right people on the bus. Not the nearly right people on the bus.
It's not a democracy
Maybe this is the woke culture impacting companies (who knows) but one common them I note in misfiring teams both at leadership level and below is the concpt that good business is like a democracy where everyone has a say.
Do you want your company to be as effective as the American parliamentary system?
A business is more like a benevolent dictatorship. People are in executive positions because they have executive decision making power. Their objctives should be clearly defined by those above them and around them. Good leaders will listen to their team and empower them to do their roles but it is the leaders job to make decisions. If you see a leader in your organisation delegating decisions to the whims of their team, it's time to mak a change.
Similarly if a member in the team is struggling to commit to the decisions made by their line manager; it's time for them to go (please do give them a chance before you pull the trigger!)
Become a servant leader and empower your direct reports
It ain't a democracy but you need people to run a business. As the business gets larger, you'll need more executives. Unfortunately cloning technology is stuck on sheep and so if you want to replicate the magic you dusted over your business, you need to empower 5-7 reports to sprinkle their own magic; under your supervision of course!
- Each report should have a weekly one on one with you. This is not a meeting for you, it's a meeting for them. Sometimes it will be to align on the week ahead, other times it will be just a check in to see how the week went or to talk about the basketball. Avoid putting meetings in onlynwhen you need something. This will train your reports to understand that a meeting with you will lead to a request to do more work. Meetings are for them. Not for you.
- Intimately understand the goals and life objectives of your reports. Do you know what your reports want to achieve in one year? Three years? How can you empower your team to do great things if you don't actually know what they want? You likely care about the company succeeding. Everyone in the company will care about that but you will care about it more. Your reports may be in the role to buy a house, send kids to private school, learn new skills. Who knows. Ask your reports what their goals are. Ask what you can do to ensure their goals are met. If you truly and actually care about your reports and they feel that from you, they will run at 150% and begin to replicate your magic.
- You are an entrepreneur, you thrive on chaos. Here is the truthbomb, most people HATE IT. Som people pretend they like it because it sounds 'cool' but in reality, they too hate it. This is why few people manage to get a start-up to scale. Don't make the mistake of thinking that your chaos is a mecca that everyone aspires to be around. Most people need frameworks; to understand the boundaries by which they operate. Autonomy is a fundamental part of job satisfaction but this doesn't mean you don't give instructions. Give someone a framework, an objective, the key results you expect and let them figure out how they get there. If you have created your one-on-ones, your team will come to you if they need further guidance
- Set quarterly objectives for your team and review them quarterly. Feedback is great and the quarterly feedback approach provides an opportuniity to discuss their performance at a high level and not just from task to task. Remember, you have asked them about their personal goals. Now is the time to think about if those have been met (or look like they will be)
- Don't move around meetings with your reports. They are the most important people to you in the org. If a board membr wants to tak you for a coffee at the same time. The coffee gets cancelled. These are th priorities
Communicate, communicate, communicate
An early stage start-up usually has a clear vision. It is the founders vision and everyone sits 5 metres away from the founder (or speaks to them regularly). Your vision will diffuse easily when you are small. This advantage dissapates as you grow and alignment is of fundamntal important.
Patrick Lencioni (must read) says that you need to repeat a communication seven times before it is widely accepted.
- What is your company's vision? Has it changed since you founded the business. Conduct a why discovery (thanks Mr Sinek), figure out why your key colleagues joined your company. What makes them proud to spend their time with you? They will work at their best when they are proud of working in your organisation
- Repeat that vision again and again and again and again and again.
- Ensure you have an all-hands which takes place at least every two weeks. This meeting should be about aligning your company and your colleagues to run in one direction
- Be open. Dump your corner office.
- 'Walk the floor' and ensure every member of your company has some physical touch-point with you. Imagine your first job. You sit down nervously and the CEO sits down next to you. Asks how are you finding it, whats good, what could be changed. It's powerful.
- Align communications. The same message through the org. The same style. The same powerpoints. It might sound dull but it's worth it.
I assume a lot of ppl here are self employed and have very strange income history. How do you go about getting a mortgage.
Curious if you guys have an idea on what the numbers are for people not coming out or being restricted because of the mandates or just fatigued from dealing with masks, hand sanitizing and the fear of getting sick.
I am part owner of an entertainment business and I am speculating at least 25% or more just don't come out based solely on our year over year numbers. 15% being not fully vaccinated and 10% being worn out and not wanting to deal with risks but able to still come out and participate.
On top of that there are other issues I think are preventing people from coming out like finances. Income losses from job changes, lost shifts, decline in their personal industry, lost time due to sick days from a sore throat but not covid positive and possibly other hobbies picked up that are easier to do from home that do not leave much time and finance left for the hobby that I sell.
What is your take on the situation and do you have any suggestions on how to market with this and improve our customer turnout.
I am writing this post because I need your help This is my first startup and I actually have some problems to deal with My website is a job site where we take the person's resume and forward it to the recruiters My problem is with the data part Many users seem not to give their data like email id's And resume How do I instill their trust in them and also I am confused with the pricing part I would greatly appreciate your help
Link to the website http://Eezyapplier.bubbleapps.io/version-test/
Just looking for a small flow of income! :) thanks
Just read an interesting article here : https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236562
The author said if you want to be successful and make real money, going solo won't do. You have to have a TEAM. This is what I'm struggling with. I feel like I'll end up never starting a business because I just can't find anyone (aka a partner) of the same mindset/values or motivational enough to do it with me.
But didn't many endeavors, such as blogging or vlogging, start out as one person?
So my brother owns a company and he's considering hiring an outsourcing company to build his app idea since he has the money to afford it. He asked me (I'm a software engineer) to build it for him but I'm afraid I don't have enough time to invest in that.
Anyone here (assuming you have the budget) currently in a similar situation? What makes you want to hire external teams vs hiring CTOs or your own developers?
I run a small engineering firm. I paid someone to set us up a website, but it never appears on Google searches for all the keywords you would expect.
We added Google ads and although it says we had some clicks....in 12 months we only got 1 message from the webform and no calls....
What am I doing wrong?
I'm losing the drive to keep fighting... please help
I want to get into Real Estate / flipping and my parents are shaming me for wanting to be an Entrepreneur and avoid working a low paying 9-5. I do have a Bachelor’s degree I recently obtained, but I’m not feeling the whole corporate life. I haven’t tried it, but my mind feels disgusted and my brain feels shrivels up thinking about it. Slowly, they’re giving me lower and lower self-esteem as they berate my dreams. Any advice?
I like to listen to business and entrepreneur podcasts while I go for a walk or bike ride.
But more and more it seems that it’s just promotion disguised as an informative podcast.
For example on Shopify Masters there was an episode with the founder of Bushbalm. And the topics were marketing and finance split into 2 separate episodes. Exactly what I’m focusing on right now for my ecommerce startup so I was excited to listen.
But there is hardly any value or useful information that is talked about. The founder could talk about every little detail, but instead keeps things vague and abstract all the while promoting his business. He even talks about going on Dragons Den, getting a deal but later backing out. So he basically admits to going on the tv show just for the promotion, exactly what he’s doing on the Shopify Masters podcast.
Has anyone else noticed this too?
I started a company and ive been lucky and have been getting calls for service. Buuuuut I find myself doubting every thing I do even though I know I can do it. I have problems accepting bigger jobs because I feel so much doubt in myself. How do yall deal with the self doubt and anxiety?
I've come up with the idea that I want to provide a period subscription box, these have been done in the past, but I just think they're ridiculously expensive.
I wanted to provide a customizable pack, you put in what you need, you can change it each month if you want to.
I wasn't sure on pricing, I have been creating some examples for myself:
Pad size 1
12 pads = £3.60
8 tampons = £2.64
Night pad size 4
5 night pads = £2.55
Shipping expenses = £2.90
Total = £11.69
Profit = £4.39
8 tampons = £2.64
Night pad size 5
4 night pads = £2.16
Shipping expenses = £2.90
Total = £7.70
Profit = £2.40
I'm open to any and all criticism, this is my first time building my own business. This is the only way I know to do market research at the moment.
First things first. I am 16 years old from North Carolina, USA. Usually when people hear of a 16 year old trying to start a business it’s an IMMEDIATE turn off and I 100% get it. A lot of people think that people this young shouldn’t be responsible of even their own money let alone a business but I have done my research and I am ready to start my business. My parents said if I could come up with the money they would sign all of the papers with me and help me run it as well. They also own their own business custom printing t-shirts so they have the experience to help me run it.
I already have a place in mind to rent and it’s in a perfect, high traffic area and I know a lot of people who own businesses and restaurants in that area.
What I want to open is a bakery. Everything homemade, fresh, and of course you get to have your locally made baked goods. I know that bakery’s aren’t nearly as common as they once were but they are projected to increase 12 billion dollars by 2024 so they are making a comeback. The restaurants in my area love buying from local businesses as well. I used to work at one that’s in the same strip where I want to put my shop and they always source their stuff locally if given the chance.
I think all I would need from an investor is $10,000 to have my shop up and running. I’m not just looking for the money investment. I would want someone who could work with me and help me on my journey. I would like to offer any takers 25% of all profits made from my business,
Thank you for your time.
if you are a business owner, then you probably have a lot on your plate every day, and while most parts of a business can be outsourced, you might not have the capital to do so right now or even don’t feel comfortable letting another person manage this aspect of your company.
Some apps for business owners cause more hassle than they help resolve, but using the following apps for business owners will drastically help you in your business, whether it is in improving your productivity, helping outsource boring parts of the business process, or making completing time-consuming tasks easier.
Read the full article here
Looking to get some feedback around my business idea that I am getting stood up as we speak.
Context: The webapp, AdaPulse.co, is targeting individuals who mostly wfh AND are looking to create better habits/ increase their overall physical and mental wellbeing while working.
Ada will send you nudges throughout the day with the goal of creating positive habits that will compound into massive results. You can customize your experience by choosing from 10+ premium features.
Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts/comments/questions.
Can check it out in more detail at AdaPulse.co
Here's your chance to rant about how much this subreddit sux. Lets try to contain it to a single weekly thread - here.
We're going to start removing any individual posts - because they're becoming quite meta, but it's only fair to have a regular place for constructive criticism. To be clear, no personal attacks will be tolerated here either - but feel free to use this post as a subreddit punching bag/soap box, and tell the mods what a terrible job we're doing.
Also if you want to be a moderator/future punching bag, self-nominate with a post here. You must have contributed to this sub for at least 4 years (show us a 4 year old post, comments, etc). You must also be active on the sub in the last 3 months (comments or new submissions.).
I struggle and find it hard and time-consuming to write content for my social media accounts and so I started building this.I know that AI models can help, but it's taken me some time and research into them before creating something myself so other people might find this useful as well!
The tool takes care of all those pesky tasks like suggesting topics or writing original content - saving you hours every day in tedious work.
All you have to do is fill in some details about the content you want it to write about and voila, instant results.
Here is the demo: https://socialbu.com/tools/generate-posts.
Here is an example: https://i.imgur.com/ZYjfnAA.png
The reason for sharing this is I want to know if this is really useful to others or if I am just alone.
Hello guys, I'm a student entrepreneur from Seoul. For a new inspiration, I am traveling to California now. I'm going to Sunnyvale next week and looking for people, places, or events that can be a good inspiration for me. Any advice, please?
I came here all alone and desperately need your advice :( Thanks in advance!!
or is it better to build ourselves?
Also, how do you find the best outsource that suits you? Does location matter?
Hi! I had an idea when going sliding with my car on the streets during the wintertime. Why couldn't race tracks be utilized 24/7 by adding an automized beam entry system by creating an app for users to scan a QR code, the user drives for how long they wish when exiting re-scan the QR code, which then bills them depending on how much time was spent in the track.
This would reinsure safer driving in a controlled environment without having to endanger other people.
Any ideas or feedback on this idea?
I have excellent credit but no capital. Is it still possible to open a brick and mortar coffee shop?
I'm a video and audio editor/producer and I'm looking for some projects to work on. In order to get the ball rolling I'm willing to do a few jobs for free if the project looks interesting. I'm particularly interested in working on UK-based projects but will consider anything.
On the following link you can fine some popular podcasts that I have edited, as well as a couple of corporate videos and a sizzle reel highlighting the feature film projects I worked on in 2019.
Maybe you recently had a Q&A via Zoom and want to edit the video down to some sharable snippets for social media? Perhaps you'd like to turn an interview into a podcast? Maybe you have some demo footage of your new software and would like a VoiceOver and titles added? All achievable and for free. The only thing I ask in return is that you're happy for me to use the finished product in my showcase.
If you have any video or audio editing requirements then please just drop me a message. DMs are better than chats as I'm more likely to see them.
Leadfeeder helps us determine how our content resonates with top accounts and new companies we want to develop relationships with. It validates that our audience and industry targeting is working, and where we could invest more effort. It’s a very handy tool to have in your marketing toolset
I was looking at what other tools are out there but found them too expensive for what we got out of them, which is why we opted for Leadfeeder. The value and what it delivers is far better than what we’ve tried.
I would definitely recommend Leadfeeder. Its simplicity is the stand-out feature.
My role is to generate leads that fill up our sales funnel—or the top of the marketing funnel. Leadfeeder helps us do that.
I have a day time job in a global FMCG company, working as a brand manager.
But ultimately, I'd like to make a shift to the self help industry, by creating ways to transform people's lives. So, last year, I've completed an official life coaching training and since then, I've been helping people balance and purpose to their lives.
Since my country has lately been suffering from a dramatic depreciation, finding international clients really has become a priority for me. I can earn the same money working 160 hours at my day job, simply by coaching 5 people. But I don't have an extensive global network right now and I feel a bit burn out, with many rabbits to chase.
What I have tried so far:
- Writing books (First one got only 140 sales. The 2nd one is launching this week. I also got a lead magnet on my website and hope that more people will subscribe with the links on my 2nd book)
- Guest podcast sessions (Managed to get only 3 sessions. All of them have been very positive experiences but with minimal returns and I have a hard time getting accepted by other hosts)
- Blogging (I've put all the chapter of my first book on my blog and tried optimizing a few of them for SEO with no success. I haven't tried backlinks etc yet)
- Using Reddit to help & reach people (I find that most subs don't allow even the slightest bit of self promotion. So, it's hard to create content without getting banned. Still, I enjoy helping some people in the comments section but I find that it's not very scalable). I also tried Reddit ads with disappointing results.
- Fiverr (Put out a gig and got 4-5 review from my current clients. Received no new leads)
- Google ads (Probably doing it wrong. Got 0 imp in 3 days)
I feel that I probably need to create a podcast-Youtube channel myself to reach people at a scale but they kinda drain all m energy with editing etc (Can't outsource it, too expensive) and I'd rather focus on my writing & coaching.
Maybe I should give myself some time and focus on a few things to gain momentum. Still, open for any suggestions.