Benefits of a founders network
Solve problems, Faster
Shared knowledge is shared empowerment. Founders of all stages can benefit from learning from one another - one person’s weaknesses can very well be another’s strengths, and vice versa.
For example, if you are unsure about your marketing strategy, why not shortcut the endless web articles and ask if someone local has had first hand experience? Better yet, why not then use that information to try and test it yourself? Use what you have gained and then share it with someone else.
Embrace challenges and successes, together
Learn to thrive in being uncomfortable. Your first blog post may be horrible. Your first sale might not go entirely as planned. A major partner could back out of an agreement last minute. Share those experiences, and if you see others are going through the same thing, you will notice it’s absolutely necessary and you have to keep on iterating and repeating to thrive. At the same time, compound this effect by learning not only from your mistakes, but from those of others as well.
Success, on the other hand, is a long term game and motivation plays a huge factor. Set examples and take pride in sharing even the SMALL wins of your journey, and always look to celebrate others on theirs.
Cut costs and operate efficiently
As a startup founder, it is paramount to keep costs low and save time by being efficient. One way to do this is through the power of a founder ecosystem. Perhaps you are looking to use a new vendor - a founder in your network could very well know someone that offers discounted pricing. Maybe you are looking to move to a larger office space, and can easily connect with a founder of a smaller team who would take over your lease. At the same time, perhaps you need resources to build your first financial model. If it’s already been done before, try to utilize the network to be efficient versus starting from scratch as the alternative.
The benefit of networks is real. You never know who you may meet, and who can one day become your next team member, customer or investor. Perhaps you are a company based in Sarajevo looking to expand to Mostar, and a founder in Mostar is looking to partner with someone in Sarajevo. Successful partnerships are more likely to develop from someone already in the ecosystem striving for a common goal. They are mutually beneficial, allowing you to share resources, drive new revenue, tackle new markets and expand your customer reach.
Align and tackle common goals
The startup ecosystem in BiH is evolving, yet numerous obstacles remain that inhibit the growth of thriving companies. A challenging market landscape combined with a founder mindset that includes fear of failure and general discouragement, is one. A nascent funding landscape, limited investor information flow, lack of entrepreneurship knowledge, as well as government policy and political barriers, are all contributing factors.
It is each individual founder’s responsibility to make the ecosystem look good as a whole. The better individual companies perform, the more ripe the BiH startup industry will be for investment and policy changes. Build quality companies and use your experiences to help other founders build theirs.