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Three Ways Running a Startup Mirrors Being a Father

I am the first to admit, I am not the best father, nor am I the best startup CFO ever. That said, being the father of seven children (you read that correctly☺), and having worked with more than seven startups,I have a bit of experience with both, so here it goes…

No means, no, almost always

“Can I go to Vegas for …? Can I borrow your car for …? Can I have money for…?” Are all things I have heard from employees and have (or likely will) hear from my children. Two simple questions: 1. Is it in the budget? 2. If not, how are you planning to pay for it? Very simple, but not always easily understood by the receiving party.

My kids are the best at everything. So are my employees. Just ask them

My children ask for raises in allowance, and my employees ask for raises in salary (and more options) because they are simply the best. Your first response to either should be: SHOW ME THE MONEY! Kidding. Your first response should be "show me the data." All good CFOs know (or have access to) comp data. This is not a VP of HR’s job, this is a CFO’s job. If they have the years of experience and the aptitude for a title change and/or a raise, give it to them. If not, ask for an offer letter from someone else willing to pay more (my children love this one).

Trust is a hard thing to earn and an easy thing to lose

Read Steven Covey’s book The SPEED of Trust. All officers of companies expect the truth at all times, no matter how much it may hurt. I expect the same from my children. Break that trust, however, you do it (going to Cancun, while saying you are on a mission trip might be one example), and it will take years to earn it back as a child. Do it as an employee and you might want to find a new employer. We’ve all seen it at some point. Dishonesty leads to two outcomes: being outright fired, or likely worse, staying in the same job at the same pay, forever!

Moral of the blog: do the right thing. Listen to your dad (and/or CFO).

Happy Father’s Day!

Ted Stann