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21.10.2019 Funding

Checklist for Entrepreneurs BEFORE Taking the Next Step

16 FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech Startups are starting the fifth batch of our P2 “Prototype to Product” program at THE HOME OF FINTECH. The goal of this Startup Program is to guide and support the teams getting investment-ready and fit for collaboration. What do entrepreneurs have to consider before embarking on a Startup journey? Which points are crucial for the success of Startups? Is every co-founder on the same page when it comes to dedication? Here is a checklist for future entrepreneurs.

The following checklist for Startup founders is divided into the parts finances, health, dedication, skills, team and collaboration. We recommend you answer the questions truthfully before fully committing to the Startup life.

 

Finances:

Startup co-founders and employees might need to live on a low wage in the first few months – or maybe even years – after founding the Startup. “Clarify in advance if you can survive these rocky times. We recommend creating a private budgeting plan for each team member”, Head of F10 Thomas Landis says.

The questions below aim to prepare you for the financial reality of running a Startup.

Can everyone in the team afford the next few months without a regular income?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Have you made budgeting plans?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Are you willing to temporarily lower your expenditures and living standards?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

Are you aware that you might get job offers with salaries that you will never achieve within the first years after the foundation of the Startup?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Are you currently supporting family members, and will you be able to maintain the support for the next 12 months even without a regular income?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Health:

Just as important as financial stability is physical and mental health. Please answer the following questions honestly for yourself to find out if you are fit to become an entrepreneur.

Do you generally feel physically and mentally healthy?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Are you on strong medication that prevents you from performing well in your work life?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Have you had a medical check-up within the last 12 months?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Have you had burnout symptoms before?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Have you suffered from sleeping problems because of high workloads or financial instabilities in the past?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Do you currently have trouble falling and staying asleep?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Can you cope well with stress?

o   Yes.

o   Some of us.

o   No.

 

Dedication:

Many entrepreneurs claim that dedication is a decisive factor when it comes to running a Startup. “Success can be defined in many different ways, but the one thing we know for sure about success is that it is not accidental. Success does not happen overnight. It requires long and hard work. In the end, it all comes to one thing: dedication and the ability to commit to the purpose of your Startup”, an article on the platform Startupist states.

If you cannot answer the following questions positively, you should probably have second thoughts about embarking on the Startup journey.

 

Are you and your team enthusiastic about the new venture?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you prepared to work very hard for little (or no) money within the next years?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you ready to sacrifice big parts of your leisure time and private life for the next 12 months?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you willing to prioritize the Startup over your personal needs?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Do your family, partner and friends support your most important business plans?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Does your social environment fully understand that your company will be your number one priority during the starting phase?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you aware that you will not be able to spend most evenings of the week with your friends, partner and family and have you talked about your commitment to the Startup?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Skills:

We cannot emphasize the value of complementary skills in a Startup enough! The limitations of people’s information-processing capacity make it impossible for one individual to solve multi-faceted problems on their own. Bringing co-founders and employees with different know-how and abilities together, does not only compensate for the shortcomings of each person but also leads to more objective decisions as people from different backgrounds often also have different styles and approaches to solving problems.

Find out if your team is ready to run a Startup together with the questions below.

 

Do the co-founders and team members have complementary skills and talents?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Would you describe yourself as a team player?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Do you already have experience in successfully implementing ideas?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you good at convincing people?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you able to focus on mid-term goals – even when things are not going well?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you used to take over responsibility and endure uncertainty?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Do you consider yourself to be emphatic?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you usually good at assessing people?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Can you withstand conflicts?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you capable of solving crises and problems?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Have you worked out communication structures?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Team:

Besides different skill sets, teams should also aim for cultural and gender diversity as diverse teams perform better than homogenous groups. “Diverse teams are more likely to re-examine facts and remain objective constantly. They may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their cognitive resources sharp and vigilant”, a Harvard Business Review article finds. Greater diversity may also change the way teams digest information needed to make a decision. “Our Accelerator Programs have also shown that diverse teams perform better”, says Thomas Landis.

 

Is your team diverse in terms of gender and ethnicity?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you willing to embrace diversity when it comes to political opinions and religious beliefs?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Do the co-founders and team members follow a shared vision?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Collaboration:

When looking for meaningful collaboration with the strong players in finance, banking, insurance and digitalization, entrepreneurs may find the lengthy processes and slow progress frustrating. In the Startups’ point of view, the time span from the first contact with the potential partner to signing the contract is often too long. Corporations, on the other hand, tend to perceive Startups as pushy when they ask for updates and reinitiate contact too frequently. “The systems at big corporations and Startups work differently and mutual understanding as well as patience are key”, Head of F10 Thomas Landis emphasizes. F10 as THE HOME OF FINTECH, brings established financial institutions and agile Startups together and helps them establishing fruitful cooperation. These collaborations combine decades of experience with fresh ideas and lean structures.

Test your willingness and readiness to collaborate with established institutions with the following questions.

 

Are you aware of the different working styles in agile Startups and traditional institutions or organizations?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Can you keep motivation levels high when facing difficulties?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Do you consider yourself to be patient?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all.

 

Are you good at managing expectations?

o   Strongly agree.

o   Partially agree.

o   Do not fully agree.

o   Do not agree at all .

 

If you cannot answer at least 80 percent of the questions listed above positively, we strongly recommend you solve these issues before dedicating most of your valuable time, energy and financial resources to running a Startup. In case you have severe doubts in more than one of the areas listed above, you should seriously reconsider founding a Startup at this very moment. F10 regularly offers Consulting Hours during which our Startup coaches provide insights into the reality of Startup life, answer all your questions regarding the first steps as an entrepreneur and provide an overview of the F10 programs. Learn more about the Consulting Hours at the F10 event page.

F10 guides and supports FinTech, RegTech and InsurTech Startups with innovative ideas on their journey to successful companies. After completing the six-month P2 “Prototype to Product” program at THE HOME OF FINTECH, the Startups are investment-ready and fit to cooperate with established institutions. F10 facilitates collaboration between Startups and the big players in finance, banking, insurance, consulting as well as digitalization and helps entrepreneurs avoid the most common pitfalls.

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