I gave up my full-time job to run a company and I guess I had pretty high expectations of what we’d achieve – even though we actually created optimistic, realistic and pessimistic plans. We’re currently behind on even the pessimistic plan. That is not to say that our product is not great value to those who use it, but running a company is more than just having a great product.
Robert Kiyosaki, in his book Before You Quit Your Job talks about five basic jobs of a business and labels them as Product, Legal, Systems, Communications and Cash Flow. Now my skills are in developing products and systems and I think we’ve done pretty well on those, but our marketing (communication) and cash flow are poor. While it is easy for me to focus on products and systems, it takes a lot more effort to just get the basics in each of the other areas and then, when you’re trying to do it yourself, that creates a lot of work.
Kiyosaki goes on to say that if you don’t have the skills yourself, to make an offer to someone who does have those skills – so that you build a complete team covering each of those jobs. The members of the team can be employees, external consultants or be offered a slice of the business if there’s no other way to pay them.
Our strategy so far has been to keep ownership of the company and either pay consultants (such as lawyers) or offer them revenue shares, but not shares in the company. After speaking with David Bolliger, founder and CEO of Storyz, I’m starting to think that perhaps owning the company isn’t so critical – we can offer shares in the company and still ensure that we own a controlling share.
I’m interested in how other technical start-ups have found good marketing, legal and capital-raising people and how you’ve convinced them to join you.