Lessons Learnedas Venture Capitalist


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Lessons learned as a venture capitalist

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Lessons Learnedas Venture Capitalist

  1. 1. There is nothing inspiring about thinking small Venture Capital is the Olympics of businesses, only the best entrepreneurs with the best ideas get in, we all seek to win, yet failure is an option and circumstances beyond our control have a large impact on our outcomes. Even so, hundreds of billions of dollars are invested in high-risk high- returns annually. The thrill of participating in the Venture Capital market is the dream of most entrepreneurs. The amount of energy generated by these businesses is amazing. Ups and downs mark the journey for the manager of a Venture Capital Fund, lessons learned by making hard decisions, envisioning trends, supporting strong minded individuals and negotiating at large and small scale are tested and rested 24/7. My years as the founder and CEO of Capital Semilla, Chile’s First Private Seed Capital Fund changed the way I viewed the business world. If you want to go into business chances are you will face challenges that resemble the ones faced by the VC manager. Remember, the biggest mistake you make running your own business is thinking like the CEO –or any employee for that matter. If you running the risks, you should be rewarded as an owner, via dividends and share value. Even if you don’t want to build the next google, these reflexions will help you immensely when shaping your business model. So you work smart and reap the benefits. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  2. 2. Take Away Points Keep in mind these ten lessons to keep you on track, thrilled and empowered 1. Leverage on your passions, not your skills 2. Don’t go solo 3. Think big, bigger than your dreams 4. Create wealth 5. Innovate 6. Build knowledge 7. Incorporate talent 8. Accept failure 9. Follow through 10. Indulge yourself © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  3. 3. 1. Leverage on your passions, not your skills Forget what you’ve been told all your life. If you are going to build this up, you need to be passionate about it. When you are passionate about your business, your clients and your area, you welcome challenges, disagreements and strengthen your INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL. Skills, on the other hand, are defined by someone else. Actually, others will measure your skills based on their own weaknesses. When you leverage on your skills your LOCUS OF CONTROL IS EXTERNAL, it depends on what others think of you. It is never too late to start leveraging on your PASSION, Mary Kay, Ray Kroc (Mc Donalds), and even Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Banks) didn’t start young… they switched over what they were passionate about. If you start earlier, like Bill Gates and Mother Theresa don’t lose track of your passion. Whatever it is you are doing, your intention and your passion need to be aligned. When you are passionate about what you do, you have the inner energy to get through any barrier, setbacks are only temporary, you excel at what you do and you will always keep growing. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  4. 4. 2. Don’t go solo We win more collaborating than controlling. When you tend to do it all by yourself, you can’t involve others that will help you and will also benefit from the interaction. If you want to keep it all to yourself, you will limit your boundaries, your dreams, and your outcomes. Shift the idea of wanting to win all to wanting for all to win. Not only you need other people, they also need you. We only have one world and we are all connected. Sooner or later you will need external contribution, it is better to bring them on board early on. Learn to add value and to always think in value, that way you will also expect value. Getting something for nothing is never a good deal. You will soon realize that you can’t fulfil your dreams alone. Leverage on the power of collaboration and synergy to achieve the impossible, and you will end up with the stars. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  5. 5. 3. Think big, bigger than your dreams Success is not potential, it is endless growth. Life is ruled so when we cease to grow we begin to die. Set goals high enough so you need to stretch yourself to achieve them, you will gain a sense of fun and empowerment. Goals easy to reach don’t bring you joy, it is the excitement of not being sure that you will get there what will drive you to become the best of you only to realize that there is more best of you to come. Don’t think in potential but on building blocks and leveraging points. Successful entrepreneurs don’t have a clear path of HOW they will do things, they evaluate each milestone and recreate strategies, acknowledge mistakes and success factors and continue growing. Keep the dreams high, work on your goals for the present only after you’ve spent sometime thinking about the impossible. Challenge yourself and your team to increase your conservative figures 10 times. That will change your decisions. Thinking big is not more of thinking small, it is different. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  6. 6. 4. Create wealth Income and revenues can be a trap if you can’t identify the new wealth you bring to the world. The biggest problem wealth creation programs have is their individuality. We need more wealth, for everybody not just you, or me. Fire yourself from being an employee of your company and treat your work as a strategist, more than a manager. Avoid being self employed, find someone to replace you, create jobs for others and shareholder value for you, consider your impact to your clients, community, suppliers and investors. Your biggest value is on organizing resources to create or capture opportunities. Don’t undervalue yourself or your work. You don’t do the world a favour by underpricing, nobody wins. Offer services or products that will make you proud and expect to receive a value for your hard work. Demand the best and reward the best accordingly. Creating wealth is a better proposition than distributing wealth. Pay yourself 10 times more for your time working in your business, and work few hours per week, take breaks to explore, learn and make mistakes. Think about who will buy your business when you are no longer the owner. Remember: Never underpay anybody (you included), that destroys wealth. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  7. 7. 5. Innovate Create something you are proud of that is distinctively yours. Set your imprint, your own authentic gift, and put it to the use and service the others. Grow by introducing unpredictable services and products, even at the expense of cannibalizing your other offers, that keeps you ahead of the curve. Innovation is not creativity. Creativity is a form of self-expression and is internally focused: it makes you happy. Innovation is a form of usefulness: it makes others happy. Use your gifts to bring value to the world, you included. Focus on what your client couldn’t even dream. Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Bring other’s dreams on board, clients, employees, associates. Force yourself to reinvent. Contentment is not a good companion. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  8. 8. 6. Build knowledge Learn, study, apply. Introduce smart systems where the knowledge being created adds value to the company. Ask customers, employees, and suppliers how you can improve your business. Then share that among your people to use their knowledge to select what would be most useful. Don’t keep what you know in your head, it blocks your capacity to be curious and to grow. It also prevents others from helping and participating in your wealth creation. Every time you talk to someone take the time to listen. You already know what you are going to talk about, but you can only learn when you are listening to others. Build a business system that captures what you and others know and build it in a way that is self adjusting. Stop being right and start being useful. If your intuition – your subconscious knowledge – is not available to others you are working as an employee. You are important, yet useless. Your business needs to be nurtured to grow independently. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  9. 9. 7. Incorporate Talent Businesses don’t make decisions, people do. Chances are that even if you work hard and smart, there will always be someone a click away with a piece of information that can make a huge difference in your success. Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that a key to their success was to hire people who were smarter. That combination of wisdom and humbleness allows smarter people to participate in your business, whether they are employees, consultants or friends. Create a best idea contest and reward those who are helping you with your business. A golden rule is to use empowerment. Empowerment is a combination of responsibility and rewards. Remember that wealth is a flow, it has to come in and it has to go out. It does as you will use your wealth to spend or invest. Always make sure that responsibility and rewards are aligned. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  10. 10. 8. Accept Failure Failure is an option. Failure and success are not opposites; they are different outcomes of taking action. Building knowledge includes knowing what not to do. If you don’t accept failure as an option you will take no risks and will become a carbon copy of yourself. Without accepting failure, your business will be a mediocre and replicable option of what could have been. Measuring risks is part of accepting that failure is possible. Planning, learning and incorporating talent can and will reduce the risk of failure, however, when you are creating something novel or unusual, you are facing uncertainty. If you and your team are not capable of accepting failure you will not be able to question what you are doing and improve your business. You don’t have to be right to have a great business, you need to be flexible and active. Remember that the opposite of success is not failure, it is inaction. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  11. 11. 9. Follow Through Success is one step away, we just don’t know which step. This is the single most important reason to keep on track. When we were evaluating entrepreneurs, we wanted those who had the capacity to ‘make it happen’. There will be many reasons and obstacles along the way. Yes, sometimes you need to sit down and smell the roses, but not to go back but to move forward. Yes, sometimes you need to change paths and accept that failure is an option and cancel your dream, but think about it. Are you really ready to cancel your dream? In Venture Capital, we fear more the living dead deals than the failures; living dead deals don’t move anywhere. If you need to take a break, do so, only to get up and continue, because you know that success is a step away. Say what you are going to do and do it. It builds trust. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  12. 12. 10. Indulge Yourself Last but not least, take time off and indulge yourself. I spent weeks working without a taking a day off. I wasn’t stressed, I was loving it, and one day, I realized I simply had to pause. Looking back I realized I had not taken a day off in over a year. It was a Saturday and I decided not to go the office on Sunday. The world was not going anywhere if I took the day off. I created a pattern on Sundays for me, rising early in the morning to indulge myself in a fantastic cup of coffee with home made bread and a nice hour of reading. Some people take a walk, talk, drink, go to the beach, spa, etc. Whatever it is you enjoy doing that is NOT related to your work, find time to do it. If you are as passionate as your work as most Venture Capital backed entrepreneurs are, make room for it in your calendar. It is hard to take a break when you are living a dream. Give yourself a reward for living and include those you love in your calendar. Simple as that. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com
  13. 13. 1. It considering achievement, use and payback as a foundation for wealth creation. 2. It evaluates wealth created by the use of assets for stakeholders: clients, employees, shareholders, suppliers and community. 3. It turns wall into bridges in four dimensions: mindset, market, operation and finance. 4. It is based on the intent to profit from innovation for the private good, not at the expense of others, but within the benefits it can produce for others. Because nobody has to lose for us to win. © Alicia Castillo Holley. www.wealthing.com