The 10 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship (Part 2 of 3 part series)

EntrepreneurContinued from the previous post…

4.  Pick founding teams with a history of working well together – complementary skill-set, respect for each other and egos-checked-at-the-door are some of the key factors.  At PARR, Reggie (technology), Paul (legal) and I (finance) complement each other.  At SMG, Jason (strategy) and I (implementation) have let’s get the work done regardless of who gets the credit (and distributions for that matter) attitude.  It’s very rare that one person brings everything to the table when starting a company.

5.  Having said that, realize that you play the most important role – even with co-founders and teams that work well together, one person has to be the visionary, the driver and “more equal” than others.  Who wrote the business plan?  Who put the most stake on the table in starting the outfit?  In a perfect scenario – partners push and pull each other as this is a heavy burden to carry for just one partner, e.g. take turns wearing this hat.

6.  Manage risk – there are options to what I call (borrowing trader’s term) naked butterfly spread or jumping out of a plane without a chute, such as raising capital, inking pre-launch deals with customers or not quitting your day job.  See if you can get to a point launching a company feels as risky as working for someone else.

7.  Commit learning – especially management skills.  Most will admit that it takes different skillset to start a company than it does to lead 100 employees strong mature organization.  Read a book, hire executive coaches, solicit 360 degree feedback, subscribe to SMBMatters (ha!) – whatever it takes to continue to grow as a manager and a leader, do it.

To be continued…


About Richard Lee
Experienced finance and operations professional. Currently partner in five companies, adjunct professor of economics at Columbia College and executive contributor to a small business blog (; following corporate finance, M&A and management consulting tenures with Orbitz and Diamond Technology Partners; and six years of service with the United States Army.

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