Innovation Community Blog

Build a team, share your dream and success is yours

17 May 2010
Don't do it alone

In his Innovation Community Blog post, Ralph Higham talks about the ups and downs of being an innovator. I agree with him that the path is full of exhilierating highs, and soul-destroying lows, but I will come out and say what he only implies: starting a company is really, really hard. Think of the hardest job you've ever done, and raise it to the power of difficult. It requires unusual and often contradictory personal attributes. You'll need to combine stamina and dogged determination with the ability to listen, empathise, and be self aware. Your technical prowess, a methodical analytical approach, and financial skills are worthless without creativity, sales nous, and management flair.

You need to be Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford, and Nelson Mandela all rolled into one.

Or do you?

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to turn their ideas into reality all by themselves.

Going it alone is a bad idea for a number of reasons:
• You become a single point of failure for your company
• Very few, if any people have all of the skill sets necessary to make a high-growth business successful
• As you scale, the job will quickly outstrip the capacity of a single person
• You don't know what you don't know, and your Reality Distortion Field can grow to infinite size if unchecked
• In the cruicible of start-ups, having support is essential and may literally save your life.

At WebFund, we engineer start-up success by cultivating ideas, people and resources as well as providing incubation, seed capital, strategic advice, governance, access to networks, technical know-how, and plenty of elbow-grease. It's rare that we'll consider investing in a singleton inventor – in our experience having a great team greatly increases your chance of success.

There's a word for people who “do it” alone.

Finding the right co-founder(s) is an essential first step in turning your idea into a real business. You're going to have to give a bit of your dream away, but hey, if you need to give a little to get a little than it follows that you need to give a lot to get a lot. If you can't form a good relationship with a co-founder, chances are you won't be able to form lasting relationships with other key stakeholders in your business on whom you will come to utterly depend: your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your distribution channels, your investors ...

So build a team, share your dream, and hand in hand you'll be able to scale up to meet the world.

Dave Moskovitz is Chairman of WebFund, is on the board of Angel HQ, and blogs about angel investing at nzangels.com
Tags: Dave Moskovitz, innovation, webfund, angel
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