Big salaries don’t always equate to big opportunity, and for the right talent with the right ambition a growth-focused company that needs your skillset can be the right opportunity. And if you’re a founder then you already know what we mean! When we commit our resources to a portfolio company it’s usually when that company has proven that a substantial market exists for their service or technology, and it’s usually at a time where just a couple of founders are juggling much of the operational growth – and the headaches. This is where growth investing comes into its own.
The balance to be struck for a founder is to get the best possible skills and know-how into the business at a time when cashflow is often at its tightest. And for those with the talent to generate the accelerated results that an early stage business craves the upside needs to be attractive enough for the effort required – with an aligned objective to make big things happen for the business. So, how to square the circle?
The team that ultimately builds a business is often not just the founder and a core group of employees. To create a camp of knowledgeable or well-connected shareholders and advisors, along with operational team members that share your vision and will benefit when the business does well, can serve a business well to accelerate growth. That shared vision and shared reward-for-effort can (and often should) be a fundamental component of the returns that each member of the camp will work toward, and tying equity to that involvement is the ultimate reward mechanism.
Aligning equity accrual and income upside for your supporting ‘camp’ will keep everyone focused on the blue-sky objectives of the business, and at the same time will encourage more engagement on challenges and opportunities – and importantly, ideas and solutions to keep the momentum you want. Once you create alignment that encourages a win-win culture for everyone who supports your business, then you’ve created a collective vision that everyone can buy into.
So what next? It’s time to think about what skills and value-add you’d like to bring into the business, then think less about how much cash you want to raise to ‘buy’ those skillsets, and instead think about how to align interests for everyone so value is earned and shared. Talk to us about it, we take that approach across our portfolio every day.