Published March 2013
StartUp Essentials: Being A Professional
During every tech boom there are always people jumping on the bandwagon wanting to be a tech entrepreneur, there is this perception that startups are sexy & cool, and although that is true with some, this is mostly media hype from tech industry press.
Building a business is very hard work which requires a significant commitment from all involved. In the dot com boom days it was a lot lawyers and stockbrokers leaving their well-paid jobs to try and become dot-com millionaires. Even though in a lot cases these people were all theory and no practice on what it was like to be an entrepreneur.
They moved too slowly and wanted everything to be perfect before they launched anything. Yet at the very least they were very professional in their business dealings and for the most part had a good sense of business ethics.
What I find very disturbing in the current tech boom we are in, is there a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon this time around who lack any sense of business ethics and professionalism.
I have unfortunately heard a large number of examples of independent consultants and small businesses who have been “screwed over” and ripped off by this new generation of supposed tech entrepreneurs. I myself have been a victim of this disturbing trend at the beginning of this year.
What is the cause of this disturbing behaviour?
I have thoughts on this, which will hopefully shed some light on situation and help the real tech entrepreneurs out there avoid these people.
Firstly, I do not think this is generational. Yes, there are a lot of young people who have an unwarranted sense of entitlement out there who expect things to handed to them rather than having to work for it, but there are a larger number of young, hard-working people out there trying to build some very cool and interesting businesses.
I think this has more to do with how much easier it is to start tech business these days. You can easily create a digital presence which makes it seem like your business is much larger than it really is.
As a result I feel it is a lot harder to weed out the “bad apples” who might be prone to taking advantage of others and who lack the maturity required to be a true business professional.
Being a professional comes from hard work and time spent earning credibility for the quality of your work. This seems to have been lost in mix in the current tech gold rush.
So how do you protect yourself from being the victim from one of these people?
Well for starters, by being aware that there are people like this out there helps. Unfortunately not everyone in the tech industry operates on the up and up.
Do as much due diligence on the company's background and its principals as possible.
This can be time consuming and potentially costly, depending on how deep of background check you want to do. I would weigh the cost/benefit based on the size of the opportunity they represent to your business.
Definitely use the services of a lawyer to review any agreement you will be signing, I know that some small businesses find this difficult to do but it is well worth avoiding any potential difficulties.
Finally trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Stay strong my fellow entrepreneurs.