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Scale Sooner and Perform Better - AirTight Management An interview with Go Solo  This interview speaks to what I want to talk about most in newer articles, which is scaling and targeting companies that have some product market fit and are ready to begin growing. Prepare for years in advance by study and experience in management, leadership and smaller companies. Read 2–4 books per month. Always be learning. Now, you can build a tiny house alone, but building a significant company requires a team without about 20 different skills that no one person possesses.  No good investors would want to invest in a company where the CEO did not have their head around the capital needed. A financial projections and plan is required to even get a meeting with most investors. That said, there can always be some back and forth negotiations.

   
There is no more important decision than choosing the people at the top of your organization. After all, they will hire or approve everyone else in the company, set the tome for values, and make virtually all key decisions that will mean success or failure every business day. Angel Investors (“Angels”) have become a much more important source of capital than ever before. Statistics show they have invested more than VCs in some past years and almost always invest more in early-stage deals. With VCs treating early-stage deals like they have the plague, young companies had better understand and use angel financing effectively. This article is an introduction to a broad range of financing across the stages from seed to Series B. The financing landscape today has change radically with many more options. Some financing is easier to get, but generally equity financing is harder to get.

   
I try to read at least 2-3 new books per month and recommend this to any entrepreneur or executive as one of the best ways to continually improve and learn from others. Many people stop learning after leaving school, or after the first few years of working. In my experience, few people understand the many different ways that a start-up must be managed as compared to more mature companies. Decisions must be faster, risks must be higher, and the solutions that are developed must be less complete (80% or less) and more narrowly targeted. It takes a decade to become a great CEO and several years just to be a good one. There are "born leaders" with natural talent in leadership and the confidence required. But there are no born "Experienced CEOs" that takes lots of effort.

   
The journey from idea to launching a successful company is a long and arduous one requiring thousands of good decisions and skills very few people possess. In fact, few people even know what those skills are and could list them. Because of the low yield today in bonds and other investment classes, and competition for deals, valuations of early-stage ventures have been creeping up. Many would say that is long overdue, but investors need compensation for the high risk of these ventures too. Let me first define Entrepreneurship in the way I think about it, which is not how most laymen might define it. Entrepreneurship is creating a business that does something new and different. It is not starting a restaurant, launching a franchise, or a dry-cleaning business.

   
This article will list the many skills that are required to launch an entrepreneurial venture that can be at least profitable, and hopefully scalable. And it will help you decide if you are ready to take on that challenge. Be advised that years of preparation and learning are usually necessary to be truly prepared to launch any company, even one that is not new and innovative. It always amazes me how much waste there can be in a big company because people do not consider it their own money. I have worked in several large and many small companies, but I always tried to ask myself "would I pay this personally" before I signed a check or a P.O. for the company. During my first week at a company I had just joined as President, I was asked to approve the purchase of a $250,000 piece of hardware. The operations people, all from larger companies, were desensitized to the cost of capital and its accessibility.

 

 

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