"John Candotti had his own theory about how things went wrong. The mission, he thought, probably failed because of a series of logical, reasonable, carefully considered decisions, each of which seemed like a good idea at the time. Like most colossal disasters."
—"The Sparrow," Mary Doria Russell, Ballantine Books, 1996
Forgive me for starting with what seems to be a pessimistic quote with nary an obvious connection to raising venture capital. When I read this passage earlier this week I was struck by its familiarity. Who hasn´t suffered through some disaster whether it be a business venture, a meeting with a potential customer, a family vacation, a relationship– which all seem ed to be based on a series of well thought out decisions and careful planning? Can you read the quote above without muttering to yourself, "Been there, done that"?
I thought it worth sharing here because making the right decision about how to present your company in a business plan, who to hire in a key management role, or what venture firm to accept money from all hinge on a meticulous plan mixed with a bit of magic dust.
When building a company it might be best to consider a blueprint more like a ship´s than a brick & mortar office building. You are going to have to ride the waves and weather the elements—of which you cannot predict.
When the venture money comes in, so do the extra chefs in the kitchen and what may seem like a collaborative relationship early on can become much darker on the turn of a spreadsheet, lost deal or sudden drop in the global economy. As an entrepreneur you are going to have to step back when adversity surfaces, try to look at both sides of an issue, avoid letting your emotions and ego influence how you will proceed. You are going to have to listen closely to those you respect and those you don´t respect. Take a walk and try to sort it out. You may make the wrong decision, it could be a disaster. But it will be all the easier to handle if you can track your decision making and feel you made the appropriate choices at the time. And know you are not alone.
And now, before I retire for the evening, here´s a snippet about one of the venture firms I´ve been researching this week:
Southeast Interactive Technology Fund, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Southeast Interactive Technology Fund was founded in 1995 to invest in early stage companies with a focus on the information technology and communications industries. A sample of its portfolio companies include: BuildLinks, Mediaspan, allconnect, and terraserve.com.