Five recommendations for optimal venture growth in your first six months!

With innovation becoming more and more important in today’s business world; the amount of aspiring entrepreneurs is growing and growing. We at NLC – The European Healthcare Venture Builder have seen more than 60 healthtech and pharma ventures work struggle through their first six months of development. We want to help you as an (aspiring) entrepreneur to profit from our experience. We have helped more than 40 Venture CEOs, with wildly different starting positions, widely different propositions and honestly, wildly different amounts of success, and we have learned a lot from the experience. Therefore, five recommendations for optimal venture growth in your first six months! Read more

 1. Although there are a lot of similarities when building ventures, paint out your venture’s specific roadmap

Yes! That might come as a surprise, but believe us: after 60+ ventures, we start seeing patterns.

Every venture needs to be incorporated. Every venture needs a bank account. Every venture needs work on its value proposition. Every venture needs a solid policy on quality management. Every venture needs a pitch deck and initial funding. 

Of course, this is everything but easy, and every venture has its own quirks and challenges. So if you’re going alone on this, paint out your new venture’s roadmap for the coming 3-5 years. And don’t think of your proposition’s development only; think about how you will make your organisation scale and how you can best protect your venture as well. For one of our ventures that meant focusing on Japan before going to the US. Yet another we helped by introducing them to the only product development partner on the planet delivering that specific service.

Only by making a broad plan for your venture, you’ll be able to make an impact for your clients.That being said, you should never forget to.

 2. Make sure you as a CEO focus on the right things

It’s quite easy to get distracted as a CEO.  There are so many service partners that offer genuinely interesting improvements for your company. Of course, your venture would benefit from advanced data driven branding; or that very easy bookkeeping system to replace your venture’s current one. On top of that the overwhelming amount of interesting networking opportunities. Even in the current troubling times, a CEO can bring his/her venture under the spotlight at interesting events 24/7, if he/she wants to. 

But does this actually improve the venture’s value for its stakeholders? Well, to put it bluntly, no.  You as a CEO should work on developing the product, making sure it fulfils all regulatory requirements, so the product reaches the patient as soon as possible. 

The rest can be taken care of by your venture builder, incubator, or, if you decide to do it alone, at once in the beginning. Which brings us to our third recommendation

 3. Don’t try and help yourself, if someone else can do it better; this helps you focus!

An excellent CEO is the type of person who rolls up their sleeves, spits in their hands, and gets things done! Putting your own sweat and tears in, and not relying on external partners is one of the classic features of a good CEO.

However, should you really be building your website? Wondering what the colour setting for your logo should be? Or copiously studying the different requirements for your liability insurance? Or staying up at night, wondering if this is the right time to protect your valuable patents in Japan?

Make sure you have good contacts to take care of everything that’s non-essential to your ventures; and trust them to take care of everything non-essential. For our ventures, this means a standard but professional website:  which might look a bit similar, but are perfect in the beginning! And of course, one centralised director’s liability insurance. We don’t want our CEOs to spend needless time on studying the insurance policy.

Because this might be new to your venture, but well, it isn’t in general, which leads to the fourth recommendation;

 4. Ask yourself who overcame similar challenges and profit from their experience

Although for you, this is completely new, people have gone where you will go. Even a CEO building  a completely new product, will profit from the experiences from others. Meeting people who are or have been in a similar situation, will help you learn from their experiences, and obtain valuable contacts. NLC’s CEOs are connected to CEOs facing similar challenges on a monthly basis, and frequently share valuable regulatory, legal and financial contacts, to name only a few.

Of course, this is something very different from showing your face in all kinds of different innovation events. You shouldn’t be building your venture’s brand, you should be working on your proposition.

Which leads to the final learning point;

 5. Admit you have blindspots…

An excellent CEO has one particular character trait:  that peculiar combination of ruthless prioritization and a permanent overview of everything that needs to be done. However, even by the best CEO certain things can be overlooked. And in most instances, this is not a big issue.

Still, it can be problematic if you figure out that you missed a certain aspect in your QMS and now have a half a year delay for your design dossier, or if you find yourself spending a Sunday afternoon rushing to get that necessary approval to launch your product on Monday.

As said: If you decide to start your company outside; it is worthwhile to map the most important spots for your venture  before you get started, and make sure you know when you’ll be tackling what issue. Even then, you’ll probably overlook things. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

So: if you want to start an entrepreneurial journey, but don’t have a project yet, why not partner up with an incubator or a venture builder? Our ventures’ benefit from NLC’s scale, and we make sure that we offer the right support at the right time. We give them Kickstarter Support, to get them going. We link our CEOs via our Venture Community offering, so they can learn from each other. We keep track of our CEOs‘ progress via our Venture Guidance. We link them to the best external parties via our Venture Services.

All the best in your entrepreneurial journey, and who knows, we might meet in the near future!

Michiel Mussies
Lead Venture Support
michiel.mussies@nlc.health
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