From the kernel of an idea, the people behind the prize winners had created companies which had given their shareholders an exceptional return. Many good ideas never make it to become companies. Many companies never make it to the starting line. Many companies make it to the starting line, but get crushed by bad luck, poor capital structures, bad timing, sub-optimal execution, excessive competition or failure to attract resources. What do we mean by failure to attract resources?
The VC argued that entrepreneurs don't have to be great managers, or great inventors, or specialised or technically gifted. But they do have to be able to glue together the assets of market insight, mission, people and capital. They have to have the vision, passion, guts and communications skill to make people want to believe in the journey. This is the glue.
At the EC forum last week, Theo Paphitis talked about his key business strength as having common sense – which he believed was less common that one might expect. This is a natural instinct.
Natural instincts help our business to stay alive through the 'near death experiences.' Knowing when to sit tight and hold the line, when to retreat, when to attack. Knowing how to avoid panic in the ranks. Knowing how to exploit the 'Break through moments' when they arrive. Negative sentiment is the biggest drain on the business when going through these tortured moments.
Perhaps management skills can be taught but survival instincts only honed.