Thursday, April 9, 2015

#Startups - The Basic Bickerings

Bickerings can be a great distraction for a startup and can even jinx the venture.  The bickerings can be of four types.
Basic bickerings can make the Startup suffer
  1. Talent is not supreme, commitment is - when you find co-founders find people who have more commitment and chemistry to your vision and you, than pure talent.   So, when commitment tapers, talent is of no use. 
  2. What is in it for them - When things go bad, partners talk about their contribution and how the startup or the founder 'owes' them.  Actually, money follow success, and success follows commitment.  If the partners are in it for only 'money', then they are the wrong ones. 
  3. Go legal, early on. Trust is good, but legal is better - When you put forth your idea to your would be partners or co-founders, you do so in trust.  In that trust is the faith that people are not in for money or showcasing their talent, but are commited to the cause.  The roles, the responsibilities, the monetary terms, the shares all should be documented upfront.  Not on an email, but a legal piece of paper.  That is what will stand good stead in the bad times.  Trust and verbal commitments can be twisted by those who are vainglorious. 
  4. Lateral shop lifting - When you get partners who you think are pure talents and are even committed.  What happens is that they are there to add value, and not distract from your original vision.  In the process, the lateral entrant can be a significant distracter to your founding cause.  More so, their claims can make the entire venture setback, even permanently.  The idea may survive because of the shop lift, while the founder may have lost heart to proceed in the aftermath of distraction. 
There are many advices to choosing the right partners and early lateral entrants.  Follow these simple rules.
  • Evaluate your partner in terms of past history, personality and fitment to the cause.
  • Evaluate your partner's commitment and longevity. 
  • Discuss terms and responsibilities, clearly make it a legal one.  Anything short of this, you will not have your answers during the bad times. 
  • Protect the Intellectual property of your business venture clearly, again defining it all clear terms possible. 
  • Finally, define the exit clauses clearly. 
Sometimes, you cant avoid these basic bickerings between the less than committed partners and committed ones.  However, certain precautions like the above can help the venture survive.  
- Ashok Subramanian
Copyright - Cherunathury Tech Ventures 2015


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