Dear Friends, Colleagues and Entrepreneurs,
In 2015, I launched my new company, QuestFusion, to provide strategic guidance to entrepreneurs and startups. I know from experience that key pieces of advice from experienced business owners can have a huge impact on your own success as an entrepreneur, from learning the importance of mentoring in business to how digitizing your company can save its bacon, so I was keen to pass on everything I had learned to the next generation. Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing entrepreneurs with very interesting business ideas. It has been an eye opening experience seeing so many cool ideas that have the potential to change the world around us and create value for entrepreneurs, their teams, and their investors. It has also been an educational experience running a professional services company with an online presence, as opposed to a product company with many employees, large corporate customers, and public investors.
Some validating points I’ve found about the QuestFusion business model over the past year have been:
- Most founders and first-time CEOs can significantly benefit from the experience that I have as a seasoned CEO of multiple companies. At a minimum, my experience can make the entrepreneur more efficient and productive, and, in some cases, it can be the difference between the success and failure of their business.
- Most new entrepreneurs and company founders lack the knowledge and experience it takes to build a business, and eventually a company. Even if they are brilliant individuals, and have a very good business idea, they frequently lack the specific knowledge to do this.
- My experience in raising money is extremely beneficial to nearly all entrepreneurs.
- Most “technical” entrepreneurs can benefit significantly from my experience in managing boards, building businesses, growing a customer base, and protecting themselves and their teams against predatory investors
- Startup CEOs can benefit from my experience in building an ecosystem of service providers and advisors around companies
- My experience in buying and selling companies is critical to CEOs looking for an eventual exit for their company
- CEOs are cautious about seeking too much guidance from board members, even if they have terrific experience, thus the entrepreneur can benefit by having a coach that does not have a “dog in the race”
However, there are some big challenges with the one-on-one consulting model that QuestFusion implemented last year:
- Most early stage startups lack the financial capability to support REAL strategy consulting
- Many boards of directors are not supportive of a CEO having a coach on the payroll, since they see this as the role of the board of directors
- Entrepreneurs want to gain the knowledge that I have gained over the last two decades, but don’t know how to access that information in a non-threatening and cost effective way that is not in conflict with their board of directors.
As a result of these lessons, I plan to redirect and expand the focus of QuestFusion in 2016. My high level objectives are as follows:
- I will continue to have my one-on-one strategy consulting practice, and make angel investments in the best ideas where I feel that I can add value as an advisor. However, I will expand my focus to late stage private companies, and even small cap public companies that are in a growth mode.
- I will pursue roles on advisory boards and board of directors for companies where I can provide unique technical and business insight.
- I will expand my philanthropic activity and get more personally involved in one or two causes as a volunteer or board member.
- I will develop a more significant online platform and presence including more articles, blogs, and videos to help entrepreneurs and startup CEOs grow and manage their businesses.
- As part of this process, I will have a complementary monthly webinar in a key topic relevant to entrepreneurs working to grow their companies, which will include extensive Q&A.
- I will make myself available for “virtual coaching” for those entrepreneurs that can benefit from more hands-on assistance in addition to the tools I will provide online. This will be an intermediate solution between purely online and a retained consulting agreement.
- As part of my online platform, I will enable a collaborative community for entrepreneurs to share their ideas and experience.
- I will start work on an E-book that will discuss many of my experiences as a CEO and entrepreneur to provide a more comprehensive tool kit for startups and entrepreneurs.
- In addition to these activities for QuestFusion directly, I’m in the process of building an ecosystem of other advisors and specialists that can be a resource to entrepreneurs. I will offer this ecosystem of affiliates as a resource to entrepreneurs seeking specific advice where I am not a specialist.
So what’s next?
My first FREE Webinar of the year is scheduled for Thursday, January 21, 2016, and will be about Key Elements of Fundable Business.
Some of the questions that I will answer are:
What are the key components of a business plan?
How do you establish credibility with investors, customers and partners?
Why should someone invest in YOU and your company?
How do you identify the best investors for your company?
When should you approach investors?
What are “critical milestones” for fundability?
The session will be concluded by a Q&A session. I will provide a checklist and notes for attendees, and introduce my virtual consulting practice to attendees. You can register for the Webinar at http://the-real-deal-live.com/
I hope that I see many of you join the Webinar, and if you see it as being something appropriate for a friend or colleague, please feel free to pass this email to them. My Webinar in October of last year was well attended and was followed by very positive feedback.
I think 2016 is going to be a very interesting year with the dynamics in the US and global economy, the upcoming US presidential election, the Olympics, and all the new technologies being launched to make our lives better, more fun, and more productive. I’m very excited to launch this next phase of QuestFusion and welcome any feedback or suggestions that you have for me. Feel free to refer me to opportunities that you see as a good fit.
This is Patrick Henry, CEO of QuestFusion, with The Real Deal…What Matters