This is a guest post by Brian Turchin. Brian is CEO/Founder of Cape Horn Strategies, a consultancy devoted to helping software CEOs create vibrant and flourishing businesses. Brian has helped dozens of CEOs successfully proceed from one business life cycle stage to another: he helps start-up CEOs become a growing profitable business; he helps CEOs with a more mature business grow and scale into a much larger business dealing with topics like business strategy, sales, leadership, organization, funding and acquisitions; and he helps CEOs sell their businesses. Complementing this work, Brian Turchin is an Executive Coach helping CEOs and other “C” level executives do what they do better.
As a bootstrapped founder, your business has been growing at more than 20% per year and doing it profitably. You now have 50 employees. Your recurring revenue is high and you have built an excellent leadership team.
But you have competitors who are bigger than you. And you feel the need to push your business to another level in order to be able to compete.
Should you seek outside investment?
One of the CEOs I met at our last Business of Software conference in October had a problem like this.
He came to the conference like others to learn from the speakers and to network but he took it a step further.
He treated the conference as an extended Board of Advisors.
He made it a point to identify and talk to as many attendees as he could about his challenge. (I was one of the CEOs he met. And we first met like many others just by sitting near each other during the presentations and introducing ourselves to each other. )
How did it work for him? Here is what he said in an e-mail to me after the conference was over.
Thanks for spending time with me in Boston. Our talk was quite helpful to weed out my brain :>)
After also talking to 8 CEOs, 5 VCs and several other people at the conference I am quite confident that bringing a VC into the company is not the right thing for us to do. We simply can’t offer them an appropriate exit (at least not one that is in sync with OUR plans). So it might help us in the beginning but would create turmoil later. So: Don’t do it.
It was interesting that some of the VCs I talked to said exactly that after we talked about our plans and my motivations. While other VCs just wanted to “get in” without actually talking about the exit.
What’s this mean for you? You too can get more value out of the conference by thinking about it as your extended Board of Advisors.
How might you do this?
So at next year’s conference get the kind of value that is “priceless,” as the Mastercard commercial says, treat the conference as your extended Board of Advisors.
BUSINESS OF SOFTWARE – FOR PEOPLE BUILDING GREAT SOFTWARE BUSINESSES.
This year will be the 7th Business of Software, a three day conference for founders who want to build sustainable, profitable software businesses. BoS has always been a special conference for our delegates and we want to keep it special.
Attendance is restricted to just 400 attendees in 2013 and we have 200 places taken and the next 100 tickets (as of April 20th) will be sold at the second Early Bird Rate.
If you want to see all of the action from Business of Software 2012, the videos of the talks are available in one place now: