Sunset at DoubleM Systems (DBLM.com), Del Mar, California

Sunday, August 7, 2022

That Which Can NOT Be Delegated

I've seen many people struggle with getting going with their ideas because they want other people to do the hard work associated with starting a business.

For example, some founders have relatively clear ideas about what the ideal world should look like, but have no idea how to get it to be that way.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks many founders face is the need to communicate their ideas in writing. This is often so painful a process that it never gets done. Frustration builds to the point where the founder tries to get someone else to communicate what the founder is thinking.

This rarely goes well...

If the startup will need outside investors, you can be sure that the investors will want to hear directly from the founder, the source of the big ideas behind the new adventure. No investor really wants to hear from the Sales or Marketing Manager, or the IT guy. These people are hirelings, they will come and go over the lifetime of the business. The founder is the Visionary, and will, hopefully, lead the company for the possibly 10 years or more that it will take to, maybe, achieve success. 

Another reason why startup idea people want to delegate the undelegatable is because they recognize that they don't have the skill set to communicate effectively. They have never created a slide deck, or a spreadsheet, or a business plan, and they just back away from learning these skills, hoping they will meet someone who will do this work for them. 

It could happen, but rarely, if ever, does. If the idea guy doesn't have the fire to learn new skills, then they probably don't have the fire to lead the adventure over the long run.

Hope is not a strategy, however Recruiting is. Founders who lack the skill sets to communicate their Big Idea must find a co-founder who excels at these skills, and this co-founder should be the CEO. Investors only want to talk to the CEO. So the original founder must therefore fade into the background and let the CEO co-founder take over. 

In order for this Recruiting strategy to work, the Big Idea guy must work ceaselessly to find their ideal co-founder, a true communicator with skills to get the Vision across in such a way that Investors line up to throw money at the fledgling business. 

This means that the co-founders must endure the early period of building the Message (the Vision), and even a Prototype product or service, with no pay and long hours, until that first Seed Money kicks in from the first Investors (usually Friends, Family, and Fools).

Sometimes, failure to launch just comes down to laziness. The Big Idea guy never gets past their own personal comfort zone to risk it all and Just Do It (whatever it takes), and Persist until they succeed. It's a lot easier and more comfortable to stay with their 9-5 day job with good pay than it is to quit and go full bore on starting a new business with at most a 1 in 10 chance of success.

Co-founders aren't always needed to get funding, but it sure does help.


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