Posts Tagged ‘beliefs’

The Investor Casting Couch

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

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“The Investor Casting Couch”: a mindset that says we are best served at our first meeting, acting cagey, and getting the other party (co-investor, adviser or entrepreneur) to reveal themselves to us first to protect our own self-interest, at all costs. In extreme cases, we must do as little as possible to reveal our own past, ideas or intellectual property.

Reality: Your actions merely serve to show that you have close to zero interest in building a trusting peer-level relationship, collegiality or collaborating in anything other than constant “fear” (stolen IP or contacts). You might, of course, be right on the odd occasion when you have a rogue across the boardroom table. However, 9 times out of 10 assuming that you have done your due diligence properly, you are merely revealing the depth and breath of your own insecurities. Why would you create that first impression? In the misplaced belief, it projects your superiority when all it does is project your stupidity. Why would anyone, except the desperate, choose to spend a millisecond further in your company?

I see this mindset widely adopted by experienced bankers, corporate financiers, private equity and venture capital professionals to the point of huge irritation. They have been a success in their career but they refuse to act like a success. Stop, in the name of common sense!

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Small and Family Business 101

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

There is a reason I largely choose not to immerse myself in helping investors, founders and top management in small and family businesses profitably grow – emotional overload. Here is three attributes (“The Three P’s”) that anyone who wants to build a career “selling” to these firms must excel at:

  1. Patience – a willingness to live with large levels of procrastination that has more to do with the Founder’s beliefs and their subordinates views on how best to conform to those beliefs. “We demand and believe in loyalty” – excessive numbers of mid and senior employees and clients who are retained by the business despite an increasing strategic “mismatch” with the future direction of the firm.
  2. Power – an ability to line up the powerful forces in support of your ideas, insights and growth strategy and use that power to mitigate or eliminate the forces pointing their guns at you. In Boardrooms of small businesses, the power is largely drawn from the emotional objectives of the Business Owner, key investors or close counselors (reputation, standing in the community or within the firm, personal friendships etc.)
  3. Perception – an ability to tap into the key influencers’ perception of how they want the firm and its’ people to be viewed by the outside world  (clients, business partners, suppliers, competitors, friends etc). Many a reason to invest in a profitable growth alternative has as much if not more to do with perception than reality (the owner of an insurance broker who builds a HNW private client business largely because he wants to be seen as a peer of other successful entrepreneurs and executives in his personal community).

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.