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Recap: Lessons We Learned

4 minute read

On 31 January 2019, Sleek hosted its first event – The Growthmakers Series Vol. 1: Lessons Learned. It was a great night of mingling, laughing, and learning, as our panel shared their biggest learnings and mistakes from running their business in Singapore.

If you missed our event, don’t worry! We covered 3 main tips that our panelists shared with us and how that would lead towards building a successful business.

On our panel:

#1. The importance of fundraising

It’s an unfortunate reality that money is the lifeblood of your business.  Often this means needing to raise funds to get you to the next level of growth.  As Dana said, “Fundraising is not a one-time thing.”

At the beginning of the journey, entrepreneurs find it difficult to get sustainable cashflow because they’re busy gaining traction in the market and may only have a handful amount of customers.

Funding at this early stage – perhaps with some money of your own to show you have ‘skin in the game’ – helps to fill the gaps when building the business. This is because you can calculate early expenses and deficits as the company is getting started, and plan accordingly to either fill those gaps with borrowed money/investments or find a way to reduce your expenses.

Other stray pieces of advice:

  • “Investors look at lines, not dots” – build a relationship with your likely investors so when it’s time to invest, they know your story (Matas)
  • There are benefits to getting a lead investor on board who can help sell/validate your vision – FOMO is real (Julien)
  • Focus on the alignment of interests from the investors, not just the valuation (Julien)

(Find out more about the types of funding available in Singapore.)

#2. Finding the right team

Julien shared the importance of finding the right team – not just employees, but also a co-founding team – with whom you can make important decisions and share the load alongside you.

When finding a cofounder, you are not looking for someone who is exactly like you. Instead, you should look for someone who has a different perspective when it comes to running a business and having a game plan. This way, you can have two of everything: two types of opinions and two sets of minds.

Other stray pieces of advice:

  • On building a team of A players: “when I consider hiring someone, I ask myself if I would hire ten of the same person. If the answer is yes, then I hire them. If it’s no, I won’t.” (Julien)
  • On management style: “Have a bias to delegate – the urge to micromanage is real.” (Matas)

(Find out more about what to look for in a cofounder.)

#3. Having a business plan

Matas explained how having a business plan is vital before rushing to start your own company. Having a plan helps define and focus your ideas and business strategies – not only concentrating on financial issues but also spending time on management, technology and creating value for your target audience.

A proper business plan can also be used to secure investment capital from lenders. You need to plan out what you want to achieve and use that as the starting point. Having a business plan does not guarantee success (things can happen that disrupt the plan) – but it will eliminate major pitfalls along the way.

Other stray pieces of advice:

  • Focus on the alignment of your company. Start small, get small victories, and you will see more and more people will be interested in being a part of your business (Julien)
  • Entrepreneurs usually spend too much time thinking. At times, you just need to do it on the spot. Adjustments to your plan can be made along the way (Matas)

Next steps

We can’t wait to bring you the next installment of the Growthmakers Series. Gauging from the interest and questions in the crowd, there is a lot of interest around how to raise funds and we’re working to bring you an event that fills you in on everything you need to know, so watch this space!

At Sleek we help entrepreneurs everyday to set up their businesses in Singapore.  Talk to us for practical advice and if you have any questions about incorporation, contact us to learn more.

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