building a business

Building-blocksOften people ask me why did you invest in that company.  I have been
spending some time thinking about the people I have decided to invest in and the businesses they have built.  Maybe by asking myself some
questions I will see a pattern in regards to what and why.  It is
certainly easier to ask myself some questions after a few months of
being involved.  I am asking myself, do I still have serious respect for
this entrepreneur, what is the biggest flaw or problem this business
needs to overcome, have I helped them, was this what I was expecting. 

Most
of the time my respect level for each entrepreneurs soars.  I have more than likely
helped them, each in a different way. There are obviously some flaws in each business model but there are also some
surprising shifts that end up being better than before and most of the
time it is not what I was expecting because every business is different
and every entrepreneur is different. 

What I have witnessed,
through my own experiences and living vicarously through my husband for
many many years is that it isn't simply about how brilliant the idea is.  If the
entrepreneur is not able to use the support system around them and be
willing to listen to honest feedback (doesnt mean they have to take it)
and be transparent about what is happening in the day to day operations
then a board or any investor or employee can not help a business grow in
the right direction.

I have recently been involved with a company
that just took a turn down a bad path.  Personally I have found it to
be frustrating, upsetting and everything else under that category.  No
herculaen effort on my part was able to fix the problems that were
created.  Those problems were created for several reasons and one was the lack of transparency about the reality of the state of the business. They did not
lean on others who are involved with a different set of experiences that
might have been helpful. There is something to be said for others who have seen that movie and know how it ends.  Their information can sometimes help for a better ending.

I am a fixer.  It is something that I
am well aware of and have attempted not to use that as a measurement for
making an investment decision.  I believe I have done a very good job at
that but whe my back is up against the wall, I tend to go into fix
mode.  That somehow my super hero powers will get everything to the
right place. 

As any investor, each investment takes on a life of its own yet each time I learn something new that helps me be a better investor next time.  Reflection is key but reality is even more so.