Ideas, passion, positivity, cleverness, and grit are great starting points. Most founders of start-ups have each of them to a certain degree. The difference between those who lead their ideas into successful companies to those who don’t get there is the attitude towards personal development and the actual learning curve.

The almost intuitive reaction to commencing the journey of entrepreneurship is seeking knowledge of important areas such the technology, market, how to manage cash flow etc. However, beyond the obvious commercial knowledge, to truly develop into a successful entrepreneur, founders need to “know what they don’t know” and seek support and development on the following:

  1. How to build their experience band in advance of the company’s progress- it is a false concept to assume that founders should only learn as their start-up evolves. Yes, we all learn from our experiences, but a start-up needs to be proactively lead, not have reactive founders that base their learning solely on the mistakes they make during this journey. Hence, I believe that all founders would benefit from actively seeking mentors that can open their eyes as to what they don’t know and need to know in order to successfully and proactively develop their companies.
  2. Recognition of red flags– what are red flags, how to identify them, how to interpret them in the organisational context and how to react are all important questions that, especially first-time founders need to learn. Again, mentors who established and grew companies are in the best position to help here as well. And no, they don’t need to understand the specific technology your start-up is dealing with; they need to have sufficient experience in building and expanding companies to draw your attention to those red flags.
  3. People management– how to select the right people to work with, manage, retain, develop and get out the best from your team (creativity, quality, and productivity) is not as simple as it sounds. Many founders put management development as the second priority, but can you really lead a company for success if you cannot get the best out of your team and keep them with you?

Passion, great idea and long hours dedicated to your start-up are not enough for success. As an entrepreneur, you must understand that part of the journey is your own development.

Parking your personal development until such time that you will have time and resources to focus on yourself, means that this time would never arrive, nor will success.

Take an action now and find the right support for you to strengthen your experience development, understand red flags and learn how to manage and lead your most important resources (= people).