Home Estate Planning Is ‘Founder’s Syndrome’ holding your business back?

Is ‘Founder’s Syndrome’ holding your business back?

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You’ve created the idea, designed a plan, and now your business is up and running. However, there’s still that looming question of what to do when the business starts to grow.

The jump out of your career comfort zone might be finally paying off – but sooner than later growing pains begin to bite.

Too many people think that they are the only ones that can make their business ideas work. But in reality, entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a solo activity. At times, it might even help in the long run if it’s not. 

At least this is the view of Claire Madden, managing partner and co-founder of private equity and alternative investments firm, Connection Capital.

Madden is a firm believer that teamwork is what makes the dreams work– but understands that bringing others on board is no easy decision. 

“The problems come when a founder can’t see that they haven’t got the skill set and they don’t really want someone else coming in, and it is a very difficult thing for a founder to do,” she said.

Madden reflected back to the days when she and her co-founders would sit in a dark room and brainstorm ways to build their business, but those small discussions between the four of them only lasted for so long. 

Priorities began to change, and it was the strength of being open to the complementary skills within the team that allowed it to work, she said. 

“Companies evolve… they don’t stay the same beasts forever,” Madden added. 

While it can take a special skill set to get an idea off the ground, Madden said growing the company can often require much more, especially in the eyes of investors. 

“The ability of a team and the individuals within that team to adapt and be just as effective in different stages of that company’s growth is very important,” she said. 

A view that is shared by Dylan Jones-Evans, founder of the UK Start-Up Awards and the UK Fast Growth 50 Index.

Jones-Evans said ‘Founder’s Syndrome’ refers to when entrepreneurs “fail to see that they need other people on board.”

While starting a business nowadays is all about taking a risk, he said it’s also about “doubling the talent.” 

The UK Start Up Awards’ 2023 report highlighted that some 59 per cent of new businesses have only one founder, while the other 41 per cent had two or more involved from the start. 

While it wasn’t surprising to Jones-Evans that solo entrepreneurship might have trumped the number of those who were team-based, what was surprising was that it was only 59 per cent — a figure he expected to be far higher.

But while the trend of co-founding as a preference might continue, he said, ramping up a team doesn’t come without its challenges. 

Jones-Evans added: “You have quite diverse personalities sometimes, and that can lead to a lot of conflict, a lot of problems with communication, nobody knows who’s actually got to make the decisions sometimes.

“It’s about the financial risk as well, because it’s not only you that’s completely responsible for finances. You may have two or three or four other people who have quite different views.”

The number of co-founding teams emerging could be a positive trend, Jones-Evans suggested, as the complementary skills of a strong team could be what sets them apart from the rest. 

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