Love and Startups

It’s hard to build a great startup. To build a high growth company that can deliver your shareholders 5x or 10x returns requires a potent mix of a great product, a great team, some serious execution and some luck. In addition, you need love and lots of it.

Your startup needs to be surrounded by love if it’s to blossom and turn into a big, shiny, valuable company. All your stakeholders should be showing the love. If one group is not, you know you have a problem to fix.

Customers: Your early sales depend on finding a champion. Not just a buyer, but someone who loves you and your products so much that he will evangelize them inside his company and industry. He will make it his mission to get your product bought and deployed and will help spread the word about how great you are.

Partners: Does your startup have big brothers and sisters? Big companies with complementary solutions who see the need for what you do and can play a role in getting you in front of their customers? Partnering is key for a young company. It adds credibility, generates sales and, done right, can open exit opportunities to sell your company.

Employees: Does your team love what they do and love what your company does? If your team members don’t truly love what they do and don’t believe in the cause or mission of your company, you won’t win.

Suppliers: Do your suppliers give you startup-friendly terms and great service? For professional service providers (lawyers, accountants), look for ones that will give you a great discount early on and who won’t ask for much money until you get funded. That’s showing some love.

Investors: The best VCs will give you more than money. They will help make you a better leader. They will expose their best relationships to you, won’t kick you when you’re down (and trust me, you will be down). They will provide mentor and venture capital.

What role does love play in your business?