There were some thoroughly impressive speakers and, as I do, I took the liberty of taking some notes to share with you all.
So, here’s the key lessons which I have grouped according to speaker and topic where possible:
1. Adrian Pike, Founder of Anesco
- Don’t make your business plan long – use bullet points as it conveys the highest amount of information in the shortest time.
- Your business plan can be as short as 4 pages.
- Place revenue and EBITDA on the first slide.
- Don’t overcomplicate the plan and move too far away from the numbers.
- If you only pay dividends to your employees upon sale of your company then your team will not be motivated. Have short-term goals and bonuses so that your team is motivated to perform every year.
- If you want to be high-growth then invest in people.
- If you want a billion £ company then invest in a billion £ management team from the beginning. A management team that churns is extremely costly – both for your business and your high-growth strategy.
- What delivers high growth? People!
- Get advisors who want to work with you, understand you and make sure they come from a diverse range of backgrounds.
- Be different – When you think about marketing, don’t immediately think about Facebook, consider going out and just talking to your target customers.
- If you want innovation then give people time and space to explore ideas. Many of them will fail but the ones that succeed will deliver super high returns.
- What was your biggest mistake? Not growing fast enough because we didn’t think we could. We could have been much further now if we had higher aspirations.
Below is a picture of the event that captures the essence of the day:
2. Cédriane de Boucaud, CEO, Tantalum and Partner, Disruptive Capital Finance
- Businesses often require 3-4x more cash than projected.
- Big mistakes will happen and if they don’t then you aren’t pushing the boundaries hard enough.
- Don’t re-invent the wheel, there simply isn’t time.
- Boring businesses are ok because they make money – payment systems, energy saving devices etc.
- Love the techies and what they can do but, success is defined by your speed to market, not building the perfect product.
- Business models have to be disruptive. For example, they must change the way we communicate or the way we consume energy.
- Millennials will get the proposition right, but don’t underestimate the “sharks” – experience is everything so get some people with grey hair as advisors. A godfather or two, so to speak.
- Overpay to get the right TEAM – even if it kills your cash flow in the short-term, it is always worth it.
- The founder CEO will not stay on as the long-term CEO as the roles are completely different.
- Venture = high risk – unproven tech, management, business model, market.
- Always date before marriage – Before investing, take the management on a ski holiday and note the small things about them. Do they make their bed? Do they clean-up after themselves? Are they arrogant on the slopes?
- News travels fast, especially bad news and it always gets back to your investors.
- Cut your losses early. Kill the zombies because then you can focus on the real high-growth businesses.
- Consolidation is key to success. Buy-and-build your way to market leadership instead of constantly trying to ‘beat’ your competitors. Just buy them.
- Ensure that you have access to BIG capital injections. The UK has 5.5x less access to capital when compared to the US so your location is important
The VC Love Curve below personifies the VC deal-making process:
3. General Commentary from Various Speakers
- Done is better than Perfect – if you wait for Perfect you’ll miss the boat.
- Try not be everything to everybody. Rather focus on a specific vertical and create bespoke products for this customer group.
I trust that you all enjoyed the insightful lessons here. For me, the most significant point is that PEOPLE are the most important part of your business so you should look after them well.
All too often I find that management and investors treat people like resources that they effectively hire-out for the lowest fee possible according to the market definition of what is ‘fair.’ So it is extremely refreshing when successful VCs and entrepreneurs set the record straight!
#entrepreneurship #venturecapital #highgrowth #startups
Please Like, Share, Follow and Subscribe!
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Snap | BlogLovin' | Medium | Pinterest