Welcome to Zone Montreal Inc., the matchmaking platform designed to help you meet and learn from other members of the entrepreneurial community!
What is it?
It’s Brain Dates for learning humans, where you can find like-minded people interested in sharing knowledge face to face, one-on-one.
How it works?
Congrats Fondation Montréal Inc. for this amazing project.
I promise, I promise. I’ll refer you to my whole network, and bring you tons of business.
If you haven’t already, you’re going to meet tons of “flakes” in your startup career. There are different breeds of flakes. Keep your eye out for all of the following species:
- The Well Wisher – This person always tells you about the contacts he/she will tell about your business, but never actually does it.
- The Guarantor – This person promises to be a fantastic partner or vendor, but unfortunately the “timing” is never right.
- The Genie – This person will take all your woes and wishes them away with a swift magic wand. Alas, he/she never comes through.
- The Yin to your Yang – This person seems like the perfect complement, a cofounder made in heaven. But of course, this never quite materializes.
You need to be careful when dealing with flakes while running your business. In fact, you may even find reliable contacts end up not living up to promises in the business world. It is your responsibility in business to make sure that you don’t waste your time on unreliable people.
Also, if you are constantly being strung along, the message is loud and clear. You need to craft the right value, the right motivation and the right incentive, to the person you are trying to reach. It’s the only way to get the attention and the leverage your need from that person. Focus your energy on identifying the right people that you can work with in every situation.
A sneaky trick that can often work, is to grant the “flaker” a favor, only if he/she stays true to what he/she promised you.
Let us know what flakes you have dealt with in the comments below.
“I can do it all myself.”
This is the declaration many new entrepreneurs make (myself included) as they decide to go solo. They often overlook the fact that cofounders can balance out their skills, help propel business and even provide investment.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a suitable cofounder! So it’s common for solopreneurs represent their ventures as ‘we’ and ‘my team’. And why shouldn’t they? They are indeed the CEO, CFO, CMO, Developer, Assistant, and Gopher. But there is a risk of spreading themselves too thin. As I was working on a business idea, I was frustrated as I was pushing myself to learn things that were not my expertise. The hours, weeks and months wasted could have easily been avoided if I had found a cofounder who complemented my skills but still shared my vision from the get-go. This is an #entrepreneurfail that is easy to fall into at the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey.
As an entrepreneur makes progress, taking the time and effort to find a cofounder or a team to supplement his/her skill-set will prove valuable. And as an added bonus, investors often prefer teams with varied skills to protect their investment.
So what should you do?
If you are truly ready to share the vision and responsibility of your baby, then start searching for a cofounder. In addition to networking events, and your university’s alumni database, some great resources to find the perfect match include: CoFoundersLab and FounderDating.
Be ready for the tough conversations up front, as Harvard Business School professor Noam Wasserman suggests. He recommends discussing equity based on output not just an arbitrary fraction. It’s prudent to have the expectations set upfront. It’s one less thing you will have to juggle on your journey.
Did you decide to go solo or find a suitable partner? Tell us about your quest for a cofounder in the comments below?
This was created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success
Let’s set the scene:
It’s a CoFoundersLab Meetup group set in a fun, colorful coworking hub in town. You see introverted onlookers assessing the scene and you see aggressive sales-y types already making their rounds. And you look on and you wonder if you’ll ever find your match here.
Every week, scores of wantrepreneurs and real entrepreneurs attend these events, comb LinkedIn, and network with friends and family to find the perfect startup mate. Unfortunately, most of them are disappointed and discouraged.
If you are looking for a cofounder, you need to be prepared for a taxing, needle-in-the-haystack, diamond-in-the-rough type of search. It is very difficult to find a cofounder with a similar vision, who is not only complementary in his/her skillset, but also able to challenge you.
In your search, you may meet cartoons along the way that want to be your cofounder:
- The wantrepreneurs who want to leech onto your business
- The dabblers who have their fingers in 3+ businesses
- The know-it-alls who don’t let you get a word in
- The whisperer who won’t share any details about him/herself
- The no-clues who can’t communicate their background or ideas well
And In the comic above, it’s difficult to decide who to work with. Our options are:
- Fred Flintstone – Loud-mouthed, aggressive, and constantly scheming often with unintended results
- George Jetson – Family man who always seems to make the wrong decisions
- Inspector Gadget – Generally incompetent but gets by on luck
- Shaggy – The cowardly slacker
- Miss Piggy – A little too narcissistic
- Flying Smurf – Inventive yet not open to collaboration and discussion
So how do you maximize your time at these events, even though the odds are low that you’ll meet your cofounder, love at first handshake?
- Read member profiles upfront and have a plan on who you want to talk to
- Keep your profile crisp and your venture well-defined so the right people will find yo
- Reach early to catch the other overachievers like yourself
- Prepare to jump out of fruitless conversations quickly
- Often the events are at a coworking space, so you may be able to network with others as well
- Aim for a basic intro and remember the selection process is never immediate
- Learn what others are doing to see if you can tweak your own elevator pitch or idea
How did you find your cofounder? Which cartoon would you choose as your cofounder? Let us know in the comments below.
This post was created by Kriti Vichare for #entrepreneurfail: Startup Success.