Thanks for your insightful post. While I agree on most of your points, I think there should be a level of forced cultural change when a start-up is in the scaling stage. In the seed stage I feel that some companies can be characterized as more of a group project with no structure defining roles. But if you actively say that you can leave if you don’t agree with the new changes, that in itself may promote a culture of inflexibility. I think its a delicate balance of communicating what the company needs to scale and connecting that with some forceful structural/cultural change.
Great post Kate. I think a lot of us are thinking of joining a seed stage start-up as one possible alternative for actually founding one. This post is very helpful in assessing the different opportunities that are out there. If I were to rank these in the order of importance in my opinion, I would say that the founders and management team are probably most important. Although business model and customer’s willingness to pay is the next important factor, I think there is a higher probability that smart and capable founders will pivot or find a way to succeed.
In assessing the founders and team, I think its helpful to also consider personality fit with you as well their previous track record. If you think that you could work well together, if their values are compatible to yours, if their management philosophy is agreeable etc. are all things you may consider in conjunction with their experience.
I think it is exactly this kind of mission driven culture that makes a start-up stand out and inspiring to others. The vision that you guys have will ultimately create the culture that differentiates you from the rest. I think it also helps a lot with recruiting and acquiring customers since this is a problem that applies to so many people.
I think it will also apply in China where the skincare products are almost poisonous, and the market is filled with fake brand products. There is a huge demand for trustworthy quality products there which Korean beauty companies are gaining a lot of traction. Many Korean brands have experienced a huge spike in revenue/market cap when they enter the Chinese beauty market.
All the luck to you and your start-up!
Overall I agree with the guidelines that you wrote. However, I think we should separate starting a business with family in two categories: blood related members or ones that you have grown up with your whole life, and family members bound by law or relatively new members that are considered your family. I think when you make that distinction, there could be different guidelines that could come up. Your relationship with your father and your relationship with your spouse will be very different so couldn’t the guidelines be different when working together?
I would also ask if co-founders have the same values. Similar values about family, relationships, integrity, work-life balance, humility, and even culture are all things that determine if two people will get along in the long run. In class we talked about how co-founding a start-up with someone is just like getting married so we need to take those things in to account.