Quote of the month:
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi
8 Ways to Bridge the Entrepreneurial-Investor Divide By Pilar Stella Founder and Managing Partner of Alchemy P4
There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. ~ Nelson Mandela
This quote is likely a proper mantra for entrepreneurs worldwide. As Steve Jobs said, we are "the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently...not fond of the rules."
One of the key drivers behind entrepreneurs is a passion "to change things...to push the human race forward." Yet, it requires much more than passion alone. It requires a level of truth, self mastery, grounding and discipline to transmute that passion and brilliance that sees the world in new and different ways to actually manifest into action to change paradigms and move society forward.
Entrepreneurship is rapidly growing. An Entrepreneur magazine article stated that over 565,000 startups are launched each month in the U.S.
At the same time, pretty much every institution we know is dying out or taking shape into new and different ones – from health care to education to government to business and finance – the world is rapidly transforming around us. As it does, the demand for entrepreneurship and new solutions for our new earth continue to grow.
The solutions that got us here will no longer get us there. Hence, a disconnect exists between the old ways of doing business and the new. This translates into a gap in language, values, approach and decision making style between many "traditional" investors and the innovators, or entrepreneurs.
This may be evidenced by the less than one percent of startups being funded by VCs and angel investors. Rather, most entrepreneurs are funded by friends, family and personal debt. With access to capital, one's chances of succeeding are higher than others.
What this translates to is a significant loss in the brilliance and innovation that could solve today's problems, if adequate funding and supports existed for more entrepreneurs and solutions.
Yet capital alone is not needed. New approaches, and awareness, on account of both investors and entrepreneurs are needed to transcend beyond.
How does one cultivate this brilliance and harness the genius without putting so much structure behind it that it kills the literal spirit and passion behind the entrepreneurial endeavor?
Watching this divide, I am finding that the key to reducing this gap and increasing the success on both ends is self-awareness and mastery on the part of both investors and entrepreneurs.
For investors, this may translate to:
1. Not making assumptions and asking questions when entrepreneurs haven't explicitly said something in familiar terms as their language may not be the same. Throwing the baby out with the bath water may lead to missing out on some of the most brilliant ideas.
2. Having a general sensitivity to the entrepreneurial struggle and not using time or lack of money to gain the power upper hand.
3. Letting go of some of the preconceived rules or notions of what makes a successful entrepreneur, e.g. pedigree or certain connections, and being open to potentially new and different approaches or types of entrepreneurs.
4. Being respectful, direct and communicating clearly one's interest, or not, timelines and future potential can save everyone time and money and cultivate long-term relationships and value.
For entrepreneurs, this may mean:
5. Building long-term relationships with investors and not expecting immediate results or not "vomiting" on investors during pitches. Rather, being to the point, respectful and inquisitive to find the best fit and opportunities for alignment.
6. Balancing the skills of a professional and entrepreneur and knowing when to dot i's and cross t's and be responsible vs. when to push boundaries and take risks, when everyone around them is telling them not to or that it can't be done.
7. Becoming clearer in communication and holding themselves accountable to recognize the recurring lessons, patterns and themes that are coming up in order to adapt and overcome them.
8. Balancing introverted and disciplined time to get work done and recharge with extroverted time to meet people, get out of one's comfort zone and allow the magic of the universe to unfold.
Finally, the gift of being an entrepreneur is an almost autistic-spectrum genius view of the world that sees a path and solution to a problem that no one else sees. The trick in seeing that vision come to fruition is operationalizing it into the physical, human world with the necessary grounding and "get-it-done" attitude to break through and make it happen.
If investors and entrepreneurs take some of these and other steps toward further cultivating self-mastery and awareness, and then supporting each other to do the same, the additional sliver of brilliance, passion and innovation that could be harnessed would translate into significant global impact.
Pilar Stella is the Founder and Managing Partner of Alchemy P4, a hybrid investment fund leveraging EB-5 capital to invest in real estate, "job creators," and technology companies. She writes for Forbes, HuffPost, Women 2.0 and has worked across public, private and nonprofit sectors to catalyze and connect clients globally. She is also a surfer, yogi and author of peace and mindfulness books.