New parents and entrepreneurs often express similar concerns: Is the timing right? Will it love me? Will other love it? Will I create something that will eventually destroy the world?
There are no hard and fast rules. But, there are a few overlapping points to consider before planting a seed or seeking seed funding.
1. The “why” is important
Consider your reasons for wanting to bring a new life – human or business – into this world. Starting a business or a family to have something that supports you, whether emotionally or financially, will inevitably sour. Find your non-neurotic ‘why’ before creating a new entity.
2. Choose your partner wisely
Sure you can go it alone and there are obviously successful single parents and sole proprietors, but it’s typically a bumpier and more demanding journey.
In choosing your partner, consider their attributes. An honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses will facilitate a connection with someone who understands them and balances them out. This will prevent a great deal of heartache down the road.
3. They’re going to demand most of your time, energy, and money
I don’t believe anyone who has ever brought a child or a business into the world has accurately estimated the overwhelming amount of time, energy, and money that child or business will ultimately require. If you aren’t prepared to devote adequate resources to nurturing them, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.
4. You have to remain vigilant to their circle of friends
Falling in with the wrong crowd can influence your child and business to develop in less than optimal ways. Stay on top of who influences them, their alignment with your values, and how their association reflects on your progeny.
5. Your support system will be crucial
Surrounding yourself with others who have ‘been there and done that’ will ensure your access to valuable insights and advice – especially when you are stressed and sleep deprived. You might not always agree with them, but if they have your best interests at heart and have admirably raised their own progeny, at least consider their voice of experience.
6. When things get REALLY stressful, there will be accidents
There’s not a kid or business around that didn’t suffer an ‘accident,’ meltdown, or setback when times got tough. Expect them and brace yourself. Then clean up the mess and move on.
7. Charting out their future is fine, but do so in pencil
Your kid and your start-up have incredible potential. You’ll notice glimmers of promise the moment you bring them into the world. But they’re going to grow in ways you could never have foreseen. So, give them some space to develop and remain flexible.
8. Create resilience
You mustn’t write your kid or your start-up off with the first misstep. Promote a growth mindset and an innovator’s spirit by reminding yourself that there are no failures, only lessons learned.
9. Your interpersonal style will set the milieu
Are you a stern authoritarian? A laissez faire friend? Your interpersonal style will set the tone in your household and create the culture of your organization. Self-reflection and empathy will help you achieve the required fine balance.
10. You have to prepare yourself for their maturation
Your child and your start-up will grow in many beautiful ways. Along the journey others will come to love them, too. You must be prepared to share them with the world and accept when someone else wishes to build their life around them. Your child and your start-up might not be yours forever; but, even if they are ‘acquired,’ you will always be a part of them.
So, love your babies. Advocate for them. And, most of all, give them space to grow.