The day you take on venture capital is the day you agree to sell your business.
Before you do that though, you'll need to build something someone wants to buy.
The best way to do that is not to focus on disrupting a market, but rather to solve a strong customer pain for millions of people.
Learn more from Alex Packham's inspiring story.
Alex started his social media career at ODEON and NOW TV. In 2014 he then started his own digital agency ASTP and content marketing SaaS platform, ContentCal. The agency quickly grew to a team of 20 with +£1m revenue. Using those profits to fund ContentCal development, ASTP merged into ContentCal to focus on a B2B SaaS model.
Alex raised over £10m for ContentCal, built the business to 3,000+ customers globally, a team of 50 and growing 150% year on year. His main focus as Founder & CEO is defining their vision, helping build their incredible team, product strategy and business development. In Dec 2021 ContentCal was acquired by Adobe.
Main topics and learnings:-
1. How to build a solid business:
1.1. A business is about generating revenue from day 1, with a focus on the bottom-line. This keeps you disciplined. Make sure people part with their cash as early as possible.
1.2. As a leader, you should only do c. 3 things a week. Delegate the rest to people who are smarter than you. Then give them space.
1.3. Before you begin a start-up, just prepare mentally because you'll learn the rest on the job. After you begin, get regular feedback and use mentors.
2. Why you should be an entrepreneur:
2.1. Starting a business is so fulfilling (while also being challenging) so 'have a go' because 'life is too short' not to!
2.2. To attract venture investors, you need to reverse engineer a big outcome. Usually this means setting out to dominate a market segment.
2.3. Solve a strong pain for a specific person. Then do this 1 million times. Beating another a business is not a 'vision.'
2.4. Networking is critical to success. As an entrepreneur, the network you'll build is incredible.
3. How to exit like a ninja:
3.1. Before you think about exiting, focus on building a solid business because that's what people are actually buying.
3.2. Negotiating an exit should not be underestimated otherwise you'll lose money throughout the process.
3.3. You'll maximise your exit value and make the transition as easy as possible if you start delegating early.
3.4. The CEO's role is building teams, and setting and cementing the vision. The leader is the glue that sticks everything together. It's a very unique job that does not have a traditional job spec.
Sound like something that might interest you?
Why not have a go? It doesn't have to be venture-backed. In fact, most businesses aren't suitable for VC.
It may take 10 years as a side hustle but it will almost certainly be an incredible journey.
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Referenced book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41881472-the-psychology-of-money