By coincidence I saw Ms. Kroes holding her suitcase in the aisle of our plane back from Dublin to Schiphol. This had to be a sign, and signs shouldn’t be ignored! I have been following her on Twitter for years and I knew she had access to a network of people I was very interested in. So I approached her when we embarked and did my elevator pitch to get her attention. She is known as quite tough, and with that in mind I was quite nervous to bring my message. As a result a couple of months later, StartupDelta has been a great help and got us acquainted to people that are hard to reach. What a result!
So, would StartupDelta come to me, if I had not come to them? Of course not! If you want to start a company, you always need to take the initiative! If you’re not used to doing that, you will need to practise. You don’t want to end up as that guy who never dared to ask Lily to the Prom…
As a hungry & foolish person, I always wanted to achieve things just beyond my horizon. When previously working for companies as an employee, I sometimes overstepped my responsibilities and challenged co-workers and managers a bit too often. Remarks such as, “don’t run any faster than the board” and “Rome wasn’t built in one day”, was not my way of working. Somehow my belief was to continue to challenge, in order to contribute to the company's success. Only later I figured out, that those characteristics came in very handy in becoming an entrepreneur.
So are you ready to take the plunge? This is my checklist before you should:
- If you find partners, be very honest with them. Create a culture to speak out on things that annoy you, and stimulate others to do so as well. You’re getting in a deeper relationship with them then you would imagine beforehand.
- Have financial oversight. How many months can your startup can survive if money stops flowing in? Always keep this number in mind.
- Partnerships; achieve things tactical and with strategic alliances. Ask people to work for you in the beginning for relatively low rates. If things take off, keep your word and pay higher rates to compensate for the risk they took. Let everybody share in your (and their) success.
- Keep the spirits high and lower all expectations. Always keep the low case scenario in mind. Things will NEVER go easy! Meetings get cancelled, projects fail, prospects get cold in no time and never take things for granted. The progress you make can easily be undone and will set you back at a certain point. Be prepared. Get some distance, take some days off and then try plan B or C.
- VC’s; it’s not the glamorous world you typically read in the newspapers. Money is earned the hard way and NOT handed out easily. VCs are hardened business people with proper track records. They spin the world in their own advantage. Also try other ways to make money. Plan B can be more profitable than plan A.
Be ignorant in some parts, be the expert in others, be the Prom King…
Managing Director – Belleron Financial Crime Fighters
Information about Belleron:
Belleron is a group of financial crime fighters providing consultancy services and products. Our product CAPTURE launched recently, and safeguards Financial Institutes against Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). This product monitors all “normal” anomalies within a financial institution and provides RT insights in any large scale financial attacks. CAPTURE has a goal to detect Unquantified Threats like a massive cyber heist, and has the capability to proactively stop such attacks based on Machine Learning algorithms. (more info: apt.belleron.net)