Ever wondered what you could learn from people who work with the top 1-2% of high potential ventures, and see hundreds of early stage ventures mature over a decade or more?
In September, SiMODISA did a quick poll on the top 10 lessons Venture Investors in SA would love to share with entrepreneurs about Scaling Up. That’s the stage after you have product-market fit and a scalable business model and now you’re pushing for growth.
Many of these Venture Capitalists (VC’s) are entrepreneurs themselves, or were once entrepreneurs and are now VC’s. So many of these insights come from people who’ve seen it from both the inside and the outside. ‘Pinged’ VC’s include 4Di, Edge Growth, Grofin, Hasso Plattner Ventures, IDC’s VC team, Invenfin, Knife Capital, Sanari Capital, and Vumela. I polled a few of the other Scale Up partners in the SA ecosystem too for good measure – like Endeavor.
Here’s are Top 12 plus a number of extra golden nuggets the VC community would love to share with entrepreneurs. The top 12 are ranked, the rest are listed.
1. Make building an A-team your first priority.
2. Clearly answer the simple question of… “What do you do?”. Value Proposition.
I3. f you’re not an Enterprise Leader/Scale Up CEO, get one. Take a role in the business that fits your strengths.
4. Focus on the Customer and not the Product iterations. Great companies are built from the departure point of the customer’s psychology.
5. Once you have something scalable, shift attention from finding to executing. Stop the thousands of experiments. Focus on building a great company.
6. Build for exit. Even if you don’t plan to exit, it results in building a better company with more options.
7. Openly disclose relevant information – good and bad. Non-disclosure will work out badly.
8. Don’t scale mess. Be clear on what you’re scaling (what market, what offering, what business model), get it right first, and then focus on scaling that.
9. Build a numbers-driven, results-driven performance culture. Have priorities, have scorecards, track execution, reward success
10. Be investable. Have your house in order. It’s too late to start when you need capital quickly.
11. Hire kick-ass heads of Marketing and Sales who know how to make marketing and sales scalable, systematised functions that are managed like fine-tuned engines.
12. Systematise! Think ‘how will we do this at scale – 10,000 times more than we do it today?’ Figure out the systematic approach, and then build it that way!
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