While we try to provide you with informative content on an ongoing basis regarding best practices on concept, strategy, entrepreneurship, and the like, that does not mean we know everything, nor have though of everything when it comes to the startup scene.
We are looking for individuals who hold a strong passion for entrepreneurship and business, to lend their knowledge in support of the greater community as a whole. This means you, the entrepreneurs, the startup specialists, the consultants, financiers, professors, angel investors, venture cap and private equity gurus. We would be honoured to have your contributions and your thoughts, industry analysis, best practices or anything you may this viable to the aid of entrepreneurs globally to be published here on f3fundit.com – we’re not asking for ongoing editorial, we know that everyone is busy, but would none the less very much appreciate to read your thoughts and publish them.
As compensation for your time and knowledge we would be more than happy to include in your article a paragraph about yourself as well as any additional information that you would like to convey.
After all, we all learn from the experience of others, and no industry magnate learned everything from books. So what better way give back and foster growth and innovation than to take a moment to share that experience.
In this session of Startup Saturdays we present a different type of a startup – one with a social cause in fact – a non-profit. Started by Wendy Hong in 2009 the Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace aims to create on-going dialogue between communities worldwide, in order to better collaborate on a global scale to achieve and maintain peace holistically.
Considering my own experiences with prejudice, knowledge of human behavioral psychology and understanding of how bigotry, prejudice and ignorance are used to mobilize genocide and war and the lack of a central repository for universal human commonality knowledge, I thought building such a virtual library that required global collaboration would be a great way to give support for the human race to thrive together. Since its inception on October 13th, 2009, the idea has become more robust and inclusive, as you can see from our Vision Statement and Mission Objectives.
2. Any milestones that were specifically memorable that you would like to share?
Quite a few, actually; In mid December of last year we discovered that we’d received over a thousand responses to our ““What is Your Primary Self-Identifier” survey”, furthermore publishing the survey results was exciting as well.
In the first week of this year our first volunteer Crystal began working with us, and on January 20th we began forming our Advisory Committee.
On February 11th, the Founder and President of Genocide Watch joined the Advisory Committee.
3. Can you tell us a bit about the team? How did you come together?
Our current permanent team members include a serial entrepreneur and business strategist with MBA degrees from both Columbia and London Business School (Wendy W. Hong, Founder and CEO), Senior Vice President of a well-respected hedge fund, with 16 years of IT experience (Stephen R. Payne, Board Member), and a seasoned marketing professional with both for- (W Hotels) and non-profit (Brooklyn Public Library) experience (Lillian Wang, Board Member).
In addition to her two MBAs, Wendy holds a BA in Political Science and French (Columbia University) and another in English Literature ( Baruch College, CUNY). Her 15 years of work experience spans the banking, consulting, journalism, non-profit, publishing, social-networking, sports and travel sectors. She has lived and worked in seven countries across four continents and has a working knowledge of Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish. In addition, she has a keen interest in human behavioral studies, psychology and the sciences in general.
Stephen graduated from Cambridge University with a BA in Computer Science. He relocated from the UK to theUS eleven years ago. Stephen is also an amateur photographer and has a general interest in psychology (Jungian) and science in general.
Lillian is a PR professional with an MS in Marketing from Baruch College. Previously, she lived in Milan while taking graduate courses in International Health Care Management at Bocconi University. She also holds a BBA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Baruch College. Lillian is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and knows basic Italian and Spanish.
4. Any difficulties you’ve experienced during the startup process of your social enterprise that you would like to share, any mistakes that you made which others could learn from?
Expecting things to happen a lot quicker than they actually do. This brings on a lot of unnecessary stress and paves the way for bad decision making. My advice for dealing with this is to realize that things will not get done any faster if we get stressed out and that we’re both hurting ourselves and our organization in the long run by getting all worked up about things over which we have no control.
For those people who need to see progress to feel accomplished, I would suggest starting several mini projects (of one business) with varying deadlines and/or progression speeds at the same time. Then if one thing stalls, you can turn your attention onto another.
The other, better personal solution, is to work on maintaining a personal life outside of our business. No matter how noble we think our cause may be, we are more likely to burn out and lose those who are important to us if that is the only source from which we derive personal satisfaction, connections with others, financial security, etc.
5. Any additional advice to pass on to budding social entrepreneurs?
As you can see, this question inspired a lot of advice. I will also post this list on the Foundation’s FAQs page. Thanks for the inspiration!
1) Figure out the most meaningful goals to YOU in life. 2) As a McKinsey senior partner once said, ruthlessly prioritize your time. 3) Find the right people to help you (Which involves first getting to know yourself very well, the positives and negatives, in order to know which personalities you get along with and what skills you need on your team.). 4) Be clear, with yourself as with others–don’t expect people to read your mind or intuit the meaning behind your words. 5) Trust your instincts. 6) Believe in actions, not words.
To read the rest of the best practices – click here. And if you would like your startup featured on f3fundit’s Startup Saturdays please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow on Startup Saturdays we will feature – The Foundation for Global Collaboration and Peace – and when we received their response to our questions – the advice was overwhelming, so instead of putting everything into one long post, we decided to split it in two.
As such here are the majority of best practices as coined by the FGCP.
1. Try to be as transparent as possible (nobody knows you when you’re a startup, show them who you are by your actions)
2. Only make promises you can deliver
3. Take time to think over decisions before making them
4. Make time for yourself and your loved ones
5. Listen more than you talk/do
6. Give credit where it’s due
7. Refuse to be taken hostage by seemingly immediate needs–other solutions will come in due time
8. Keep your eye on both the long-term and short-term horizon
9. Be your own best cheerleader and loudest critic (when in doubt, choose the first)
10. Learn to admit when you’re wrong (what’s more important to you, having a pristine ego with no one around to give a hoot or a good team that appreciates you as a fellow human being?)
11. Correct mistakes whenever possible and feasible
12. Be open to unanticipated opportunities and leave room for unforeseen errors–give yourself some breathing room
13. Treat people like intelligent human beings, until proven otherwise
14. Know the difference between assumptions and facts and be especially vigilant toward assumptions underlying other assumptions
15. Do your research: make sure that expert advice you’re getting is suited to your organization’s needs. If that’s unclear, ask the person to clarify and get a second/third opinion.
16. You are NOT your enterprise: we want our business to grow bigger than ourselves, so learn to let go when the time is right.
17. Check in with yourself once a day to take stock of how you’re feeling
18. Be honest with yourself: don’t put on a happy face just because you think you should. It’s better to realize that things are going wrong and deal with them than leaving them to get worse and become unmanageable.
19. Know your cash flow. LOVE your cash flow.
20. Get enough sleep
21. Have a good sense of proportionality: a) setbacks are not the end of the world; b) you are not god; and c) neither are your expert advisers
22. Trust reason above good delivery
23. It’s better to do and fail than to do nothing at all
24. Celebrate small victories, even if no one else appreciates them
25. Get to know your limitations and learn to say no
Many of us, founders and entrepreneurs, will feel like a fraud at some point. We tell our loved ones we’re working, we manage a small team, or maybe a big team of people, we invest time and money into our companies. We work from home, café’s and sometimes lack the office space that makes us feel “normal”.
We tell ourselves and the world at large that “my product is doing A,B,C,D,E” and that it can save the world to self-assured destruction or what have you. But the real question is, can it? Do we tell that to ourselves, our investors and pretty much everyone else involved because we feel that what we’re doing is a big joke, and we’re pulling a fast one over the community, our friends and family, the world? Do I even deserve the title of Director or CEO? After all, aren’t those names reserved for magnates of the industry?
The bad thing is, that as long as you’re an entrepreneur, these feelings won’t go away, the good news is, that they’re totally normal and many entrepreneurs have them. Turns out there’s a name for this feeling, it’s called “Impostor Syndrome” – and something to the effect of 40% of successful people have it, including doctors, graduate students, and the like.
If you have any of these feelings, it turns out you may, in fact, be an “Impostor Syndrome” sufferer, but don’t stress too much, it’s not a real recognized disorder.
Dismissal of compliments and praise
Mild constructive criticisms can become crippling.
Doubt in your talents, abilities, and intelligence.
The belief that you’re wasting your time.
Successful people are those with a job, a steady income, and a mortgage.
Taking credit for your accomplishments is difficult.
etc… etc… however, this self-doubt is in all actuality what keeps you going. The time spent reading about your industry, the time spends perfecting, honing your skills, reading up on current trends and “keeping up with the Joneses” are all positive activities that in fact make you more competitive and help you fight adversity. Each one of those doubts that you have regarding yourself pushes you closer to success.
But where do these feelings stem from? Even in societies that embrace risk such as the U.S., the majority of people will still be those that work for someone else, that have the 9-5 job, and bring home a monthly / weekly income. Companies are on the other hand are seen as large brands whose operations affect the lives of others in any manner of ways – not as a few people managing a few more people who make things. All the same, there is societal pressure to conform to those ideals and to become part of a larger more normal society. The thing is, that your average Joe doesn’t understand why you’ve decided to take a risk and start something totally new, most average Joe’s are satisfied with the status quo. We as entreprenerus are not.
So what does this all mean? Simply put two things, take your self doubt and make it into a positive force in your life and business.
Learn more, read more, always challenge yourself, put that doubt to work for you.
Take criticism lightly, and constructively, one of the best things you can do is have others tell you where things are lacking, they often see what you do not.
If you don’t believe in the benefits of your company’s products, talk to your customers, not only are they the best people to make your product better, but they will appreciate the service that you offer and that you care about them. This builds loyalty.
Though swords often have two edges, and there exists a very real possibility that your doubt can have a negative effect on your life and your business. If you see that doubt is affecting your work, and you believe that you can’t do it, don’t give up, do it, work harder at it. If you believe that your products are lacking in quality and that being the reason no one is buying them, look at your products, it may not be their quality, it may be your marketing strategy, distribution, communication strategy instead. In the end, you have to analyze your doubt, and see how it can be channeled positively into making your business grow and succeed.
This video comes from KMVT, which is the public access channel for the Mountain View, Cupertino and Los Altos, California area.
This specific video comes from what has recently become a favorite of ours here in terms of video series – the Silicon Valley Entrepreneur. This specific video we believe is interesting as it’s an interview with Jeff Clavier of Softech and John Cornwell of Sandhill Angels from mid October 2009, so fairly recent regarding the current Investment in Silicon Valley.
Overall it’s an excellent video and if you like it we highly advise watching the others in the “Silicon Valley Entrepreneur” series from KMTV