A Strong Founder Support System to See You Through The Startup Phase and Beyond

By June 15, 2016Events, Members
Think Big Founder Roundtable

Founders, do you have questions about the challenges and opportunities your facing on your entrepreneurial journey? Ask here…

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past 8 years of my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that starting and growing up a business is a team sport. I’ll just say it, being a founder can be an extremely isolating thing. Even though I have the support of a great team, there are still times when it feels like a lonely climb. Several year ago, during one of my early ventures, the weight of this isolation was heavy. I found a group of founders (or maybe they found me) that met weekly to talk only about the challenges they were facing. No networking for leads here, just coffee, breakfast and solid advice and help with what we needed the most. But more than that, this founder support system was a conduit to building relationships with others hauling the same haul.

As I’m mid-launch of my newest venture, I couldn’t help but remember this group and how valuable it became to me, and in the if-you-need-something-build-it spirit, I felt that others could benefit from this group, too. In talking with others, it appears that I’m not the only founder who thinks this group should exist. Think Big Partners had been working on a similar idea for their members, so we teamed up. Together, we’re excited to bring our version of the Founder Roundtable to life.

We met for the first time in June on a fact-finding mission. This meeting was all about getting feedback from other founders in the room at all at different stages in their ventures. Turns out, we’re all facing different versions of similar challenges, and it quickly became clear that we need each other. That being the case, we discussed how these meetings should be structured, how often, how long, what to do in between sessions, etc. So, here’s what we came up with for this first iteration of the Founder Roundtable:

We meet from 12:45 -2:00 on the first Thursday of the month. As far as the format of these meetings, we agreed that at the beginning of each meeting, founders will write a specific challenge/opportunity they need help thinking through on a sticky note and put it on the wall. We’ll quickly go through the posted challenges, and choose 2-3 to work on as a group. We’ll thrash, whiteboard and bring our individual expertise to these challenges in search of real resolution for the founder with the challenge. These sessions are great for big questions, like, “what’s wrong with my business model,” for instance. For the challenges that do not get chosen, we’ve created a private Slack channel where we can continue the discussions and bring questions to the group in between meetings.

Toward the end of our first meeting, we discussed how we will measure the success of this group. We discussed several metrics like number of problems solved, and in epic mic-drop style, one founder presented us with this: the metric is scale. If we can say that we are achieving true growth in our businesses and moving farther from being a startup and closer to becoming a mature organization, then our group is successful. Yep. That about says it. As founders, we can support each other and pull each other along as we solve and scale – and isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

If you are interested in being a part of this group, please reach out to me at jayme@brinkinsights.com or contact Sarah Fustine at sarah.fustine@thinkbigpartners.com.

Here’s the schedule for the rest of 2016:
July 7, 2016
August 4, 2016
September 1, 2016
October 6, 2016
November 3, 2016
December 1, 2016

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