Guest Blogger Scott Killingsworth is the Chief Operating Officer of vcfo, inc. With over 800 clients to date, and offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, and Seattle, vcfo has been an industry pioneer and continues to be a leading provider of financial, human resources and systems implementation services to companies ranging in size from emerging to public.
So you are ready to take the plunge? You have a market changing idea, the nerve to leave your stable job and some hard earned capital that you are willing to part with to get your new venture off the drawing board. Starting a new venture is one of the biggest, riskiest, yet potentially most lucrative decisions you will make. For some time to come, you will put your heart, soul, and a tremendous amount of your spouse’s patience into the effort.
Big payoffs do happen - but make no mistake - you are elephant hunting. So how do you hedge your risk? First ask yourself what successful professional investors look for in their investments. Yes, they look for an idea that can change the world - or at least a tiny billion dollar part of it - and they look for market or technology expertise, but without an exception they look mostly for experience. Everyone loves the enthusiasm of a new entrepreneur; however, investors are more likely to put their money into ventures where an experienced entrepreneur is involved. Why? For the same reason you wouldn’t climb Everest without an experienced Sherpa. Experience usually equals fewer mistakes, more rapid progress on goals, and thus optimized use of capital. My advice for any new entrepreneur is to not launch into your new adventure without connecting with someone who has walked the road before. You gain valuable insight and assistance from experienced mentors that will likely enhance your chances of success. Experienced members of your team or mentors can impart advice to help you avoid potholes; but also introductions to others in their network. You will be amazed at the sudden availability of experienced professionals that want you to be successful.
Austin is a great community for new entrepreneurs and startups if you tap the early stage network of entrepreneurs, investors and professional service professionals. The easiest way to tap this network is to contact an Angel Investor group or one of the early stage service firms. Attend any networking event where these experienced professionals may be in attendance. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself and ask for their input and assistance.
Have A Great Day