Simple “Hacks” To Shape & Sharpen Your Business Mind

When thinking of a successful business, you will come up with a few matters: high quality, customer service, demand, operation. These aspects all play a crucial role in defining "a strong business". Though, you can't forget the most fundamental one – your own business mind.
Simple “Hacks” To Shape & Sharpen Your Business Mind
Image Credit: Kaufman Rossin
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How do I develop a business mind? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

“Maybe we should stop trying to raise money,” Gill, our lead investor, said to me. We had been raising money for over one year, and we still hadn’t found a second investor to close the the $11M term sheet Gill’s fund had given us.

We had a few investors who wanted to become the second investor in our company, but, for various reasons, we hadn’t been able to close the deal. Making matters worse, we were in the middle of what would one day be called, “The Great Recession.”

VCs just weren’t funding new companies, and they certainly weren’t interested in funding an Analog IC company. It was like a double whammy.

To say our hopes looked dim would be an understatement.

I said to myself, “Is Gill going to dump us? He has every right to.” A chill swept over my body.

Before I knew it, I was replying, “No. I don’t want to quit until we’ve exhausted our resources.”

Fortunately, Gill didn’t shut us down. So, we kept going.

If You Don’t Have Grit, Then Don’t Even Try to Be a Startup CEO

Things serendipitously started turning for us right after my meeting with Gill. The biggest thing was the economy started turning around.

Suddenly, we could get real investor meetings again. And there was a marked positive change in the way investors looked at us.

The only problem was we were running out of investors to talk to. We had just about exhausted the possible list of investors when, after 63 investors passed on us, the 64th investor jumped in.

Our initial funding closed a long hard year after I met with Gill.

We literally only had one more investor left on our list to talk to. it was that close.

Do you still want to be a startup CEO?

You’d Better Get Know How to Deal with Near Death Experiences If You Want to Be a Startup CEO

I used to confidently tell my cofounders, “The initial funding for the company will be the hardest thing we do. We will never have to go through that again.”

Three years later we were in the midst of raising our Series B funding when our second investor, “Donald Ventures”, decided, for reason that still don’t make sense to me, to not support the company. Donald and “Raul”, the partner that led the deal tried to force us to sell the company.

They blocked every term sheet we received. This went on for close to one year. We were out of money, so, after the last term sheet Raul blocked, it looked like we were going to have to shut down the company.

The only card we had left to play was calling Silicon Valley Bank. We had a loan with SVB, and they were going to lose their money.

I called SVB and told them what was going to happen and why they were going to lose their money. They told me they would call Raul.

I wasn’t hopeful.

During the emergency board meeting to shut the company down, Raul called to tell us that he was going to let the round go through. It was that close.

Do you still want to be a startup CEO?

You Have to Remain Calm Even When the World Is Collapsing Around You If You Want to Be a Startup CEO

“It doesn’t seem like anything phases you,” one of our new investors said to me. If he only knew the truth.

I was a ball of nerves, especially during our prolonged fight with Donald and Raul. There were times I was so nervous that I would uncontrollably shiver even when the temperature was 80 degrees.

Somehow or other, despite the crazy amount of stress you are under, you need to be cool and calm. The world may appear to be coming to an end, but you should always appear like it’s part of the plan.

In other words, you need to have a steady hand at the wheel.

Do you still want to be a startup CEO?

Yes, You Need More Than Grit to Be a Startup CEO

You’re going to need to understand what strategy your company needs to take. You’re going to need to be able to recruit the best and the brightest. And you’re going to need to be able to raise money too.

But I promise you, if you don’t have grit, none of the other things you’ll need to be a successful startup CEO will matter.

Contributed by Brett Fox, Fmr CEO @ Touchstone Semiconductor

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