Inspiring talk by Noel Slangen with some take-aways on entrepreneurship
Today I was inspired by a talk by Noel Slangen … communication specialist, entrepreneur and spin doctor of many very influential people … next vacation I will definitely read one of his books.
The last 4 months we worked very hard in our company to take a next big step in professionalization expanding the team with more stable HR, setting up better accountancy & reporting, two strong domain experts, first user feedback, IP transfer and much more. Innovation at work in a start-up and to me it feels like crossing a chasm.
But back to the talk of Noel Slangen and my take-aways which are so aligned to our last months mentioned above.
There is a clear difference with entrepreneurs and managers and the latter are taken a lot for the first. The passion, daring to take risks and putting money on the table is different compared to good management which, of course, is also needed. Entrepreneurs who fail should not be blamed for it but honored. The model of entrepreneurs in residence, seemingly applied more in the US, should also be evangelized more in Belgium. If we would fail at ontoforce, which I expect not, we still have learned so much that (1) we will sure do better next time and (2) it definitely feels like earning a real MBA, in the trenches. In which company can you learn and apply so much about IP, accountancy, budgeting, financial planning, marketing, sales, HR, development, licensing, user agreements, funding, raising money, negotiating … all such a short period. It is great to be in a start-up!
Another lesson I took from Noel’s talk was to be able to get emotionally disconnected from your baby, your idea, your start-up … look at it from the outside. Great tip to think/ask how somebody else talks about or introduces your company … and how you’d like them to talk about your company. If possible, we at ontoforce loved to be recognized for top team, top technology but more over pragmatic implementors with a focus on the end user transforming the way healthcare and life sciences uses information and big data at work. Sure, we still have to work hard to get there but we feel we’re on track!
I won’t go in detail but I loved other aspects of the talk explaining that in stress or busy times quality of work is higher and better decisions are made in regards of times where people have more time … Couldn’t agree more! The worst decision is not making one…
And last thing I took away is the fact that advisers have such an important role in a company. They help you look from the outside, with fresh and challenging view on your company and product. That’s why I’d like to end with a thank you for the great advise we got form our board members and advisers like Luc Vauterin, Luc Burgelman, Bernard Munos, Filip Coenen, Koen Schrever, Frederik Vanmarsenille and all other support from iMinds, MMLab, VIB, VOKA, IPPorta, Agentschap Ondernemen, IWT, VOKA, Belfius, Gartner, former colleagues, friends … too many to name but very glad to have your backup, advise and support. And yes, start-ups should get more advise from the beginning and not be ashamed to pay for that as it pays back most of the times.
Thanks for the invitation by Deloitte today. Even if start-ups don’t have the money (yet), I am convinced they still can engage from the beginning via initiatives like BRYO, BizzIdee, Enterprize, BattleOfTalents and others to get ‘free’ advise to get started.
Special thx to Noel Slangen for this quick sharing of some of his lessons learned, motivating us to keep the entrepreneurial spirits going.