One of the most challenging skills to develop as a first-time entrepreneur is storytelling. Most startups I’m lucky enough to advise face this problem. They’re solving a meaningful problem and have great tech but struggle to tell their story.
One of the most significant parts they struggle with is how to show momentum and validation when they don’t clearly have them. For example, how do you show validation for your solution when you haven’t even launched it? How do you show validation for a marketplace business model when you haven’t even started selling?
That’s when you get creative and apply…
When our company grew from 30 to 60 people, I reached out to 10 CEOs of startups that grew their companies to around 500 people. I had one question: “What broke in your company as you doubled and tripled in size?” Everyone had one answer: communication. “Make sure you have 3–5 yearly goals that are communicated constantly to the entire organization,” many of them said.
We followed their advice and did just that as we grew BenchSci to over 100 people. We started 2020 with a company-wide presentation. We shared with everyone our 5 yearly goals. …
One of the challenges of being CEO of a growing startup is maintaining control without directly controlling everything. Once a company hits around 70 people, you must extract yourself from day-to-day operations, give your leadership team autonomy, and hold them accountable for goals.
But to do so, you need alignment, information flow, and accountability, with minimum overhead. How?
That’s where your company operating system comes in. It’s the machinery of planning, reporting, and accounting for activity. And the best way to build it is around a cadence framework.
At BenchSci, we designed our company operating system around a cadence of…
Over the past five years, I have probably worked around 80 hours a week, every week. While this was doable before kids, it became increasingly more challenging with the arrival of my first and then my second (perfect) children.
Over the years, I have asked for advice about CEO workload from founders and CEOs who have had large exits. Their responses weren’t particularly encouraging:
“How did I manage to do this with kids? Simple: I had kids after we exited.” (I got this advice from two people who built multi-billion-dollar companies.)
“There are usually five dimensions in your life: health…
How often do you give others at work and home solutions to their problems without them having asked? It’s a common habit of founders. We’re in perpetual problem-solving mode. We have a massive bias to solve problems as fast as possible, and it’s tough to control.
My experience as CEO of a company doubling each year has proven to me that sometimes this bias is bad. As your company grows beyond the founding team, it gets harder to steer the team and implement changes. …
In 2017, I was about to make our first business hire. This person was to lead one of our most important functions.
I met with our investors to run it by them. “He looks good on paper, and we are supportive, but whatever you do, don’t make him a VP,” they said.
I pushed back but agreed to follow their advice. Six months later, I understood that advice and was grateful for taking it.
Let me explain why — and a better approach.
Many first-time founders have been through this.
You need to hire someone to lead a function in…
I recently hired a Chief of Staff (CoS) to support my unsustainable growing workload. It has been one of my best decisions. Our CoS immediately returned 30 to 40 hours a month while elevating everything she took over.
Since then, other CEOs have asked me what a CoS does and if they should hire one. My answer to the second question is yes! My answer to the first is the detailed explanation below.
When deciding to hire a CoS, I sought someone to do two things:
Most of my blog posts focus on fundraising and storytelling. Today, I would like to focus on an area that I believe is vital to truly achieve success: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). (When I say success, I am talking about “success beyond success” — not only the financial outcome but also how you get there.)
In Q4 2020, we decided to invest in DEI at BenchSci. It has been a journey ever since. I have learned so much about this space and still have so much to learn.
Through this work, I have learned that the foundation of DEI…
“I” and “we” are simple and common words, yet many don’t use them the right way. Misusing them can be dangerous for your company, while using them correctly can be magical. Over the past few years, I learned that mastering the use of “I” and “we” can transform your team and organization. Three authors taught me the right way to use them.
In this famous book, Jim Collins examines what makes great companies better than good ones. In one of the chapters, he focuses on leadership as a key contributor to a company’s success. His research shows that great leaders…
At least twice a week, I get an email or a LinkedIn message from first-time founders seeking advice. They’re beginning their journey and looking for direction to get their venture going and turn their vision into reality.
In 2016, I was in their shoes. I joined BenchSci as a co-founder and CEO. I was a first-time entrepreneur at this scale. (I had previously co-founded a smaller company in Israel.) I didn’t know what I was doing and had to figure it out.
If you’re in this situation now, I’ll share some practical resources to guide your journey in this post…
CEO of BenchSci, husband, father and constant work in progress