Are you the best person to run your company? It depends on who is asking the question. DORON BEN-MEIR
By Doron Ben-Meir
If you’re trying to raise capital for your business, the question of whether you are the best person to be in charge of your business will inevitably be one of the questions prospective investors will ask.
Interestingly, many of those same investors probably don’t know the answer to that question, and those that do (and think the answer is no) typically don’t have the perfect candidate on call.
Don’t misunderstand; this is an important question but the answer doesn’t lie in your resume or the results of a psychometric test. The answer is normally made plain by the quality of your business and the overall investment proposition you deliver.
It’s true that different forms of leadership are required at different stages of a company’s life-cycle. Initially one has to have enormous energy, focus and entrepreneurial passion. As the business matures it requires more disciplined processes, delegation and administrative rigour. If the business is such that it transitions into a large enterprise, one’s political and strategic skills are further tested.
Most of us are unlikely to take a business through all of these phases. It’s important, however, that we understand our own professional nature – what we are good at and those activities that stress us and inevitably get deferred in favour of our strengths.
Coming back to our basic question… you need to re-look at the components of a quality proposition. It is through these components that you will answer the question.
Have you articulated a quality value proposition? Do you understand your addressable market? Have you a plan to penetrate that market? And have you been able to assemble the requisite people/skills to affect its execution?
You may have a CV that proves past leadership performance, you may be an experienced management consultant, investment banker, corporate lawyer, truck driver or cleaner – but when an investor asks this question, the most important consideration is the evidence on the table – how will you make money?
This is the ultimate test… your background (whether theoretically relevant or not) is simply the means by which you came to be at this point in time – the evidence should speak for itself.
So don’t be defensive if you have an unorthodox background and don’t assume that a Harvard MBA will open every cheque book. The proof is in the eating.
Doron Ben-Meir has been an active venture capital manager for the last eight years. He founded Prescient Venture Capital and prior to that was a consulting investment director of Momentum Funds Management. He was a serial entrepreneur over a 12 year period, co-founding five new technology based businesses.
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