E237 - Never underestimate the importance of being liked | with Mike Ravenscroft - Jeff Mendelson | Automation Superhero

E237 – Never underestimate the importance of being liked | with Mike Ravenscroft

Co-founder of the popular podcast, Extreme Uncertainty, Mike Ravenscroft, shares why he believes being liked is an integral part of gaining momentum in the startup scene. Mike knows he’s spot on when it comes to understanding what it takes to go from a Seed to a Series A stage tech investment company, as he’s spent the latter part of his career consulting for venture-backed startups at Dreamit Ventures Healthtech. Dreamit is a Healthtech growth platform that works with leading digital health and medical startups to accelerate their path to commercialization and fundraising. Join us as Mike explains why being liked can sometimes be the tipping point for a startup venture’s success or failure and how to apply this to your business.  

Mike Ravenscroft is a successful manager at Dreamit Ventures, where he oversees growth programs for startups that are ready to scale. Mike is also the host of Extreme Uncertainty, a podcast geared for entrepreneurs. In Mike’s professional experience, which has spanned various industries and across global geographies, he knows that being liked is an important part of business success. Having come by the startup world through an unusual route, Mike understands the many different working cogs that Founders and Entrepreneurs need to control. To create a successful startup, one needs to create an environment of diverse input and backgrounds. Being charismatic and likable will attract more success, especially when starting from the ground up. 

When you break down the concept of likeability, it’s easy to understand why it is not a necessary ingredient but definitely one that can move your business forward. Building a startup is one of the hardest things you can do in business. You need to have great advisors, put together an outstanding team, raise capital and attract customers. In most fields, this is a challenge. It’s hard to convince people of a value or a service that never existed before. This is where the likeability factor comes into play. When you are likable, people want to work with you. They want to bring you into their network and share your ideas and concepts. Creating likeability is sometimes as easy as paying things forward within your network or circle. If someone extends favor to you, do the same to the next person. Being open to helping others, whether it be making introductions or giving feedback on a pitch, is something that will pay dividends for a long time going forward. 

When putting together a startup, the most important thing most people think about is funding. But you shouldn’t put all your focus into funding. The most important thing for a startup is for the Founder to be flexible in his thinking. To consistently stay true to his vision but allow for flexibility in the execution. This comes down to coachability. When you are willing to listen to your advisory board, you are willing to pivot when needed. Sometimes the methods you think are the ones to drive you in the direction you desire are not the best ones to use. No one is always on target. When investors are putting large sums of money into a company, especially one where there is a considerable risk, such as Fintech and Healthtech, they look to see what kind of advisory board the founders put together. Did they pull yes men from a pool of people, or did they appoint the individuals who were the first to cut a check? The smart ones understand the advisory board should be people who understand their vision, have a sense of their industry, and know-how to work it. Having a likable persona will make your start-up more attractive to the right investors. Having a solid advisory board gives your Seed company or startup more credibility. 

An important hat for CEOs and Founders is to have the ability to read people. You need to know how to captivate them and hold their interest long enough so you can explain the benefits of your product or service. It’s never been done before, so they may not see the value you create. The ability to read others is an art form that is difficult to cultivate, yet a necessary hat a Founder or CEO must wear. In many tech-driven startups, when presenting to VCs or angel investors, Founders tend to start with the innovative technology they create. That’s not always your best bet. People can’t connect with something they don’t understand. It’s better for people seeking funding to start with the value they can offer. Explain how it can benefit the industry and why it’s so important. 

Listen to Mike Ravenscroft on today’s episode of the One Big Tip podcast, as he lays out the different skills that Founders can use to attract funding, with likeability being at the top of the list! 

In this episode:

  • [3:36] Mike Ravenscroft shares his path to becoming a start-up success manager. 
    • Sometimes having a background unlike others in your field can be an advantage.
    • It’s important to understand people and relationships when you are seeking funding.
  • [7:00] Being liked may make the difference between receiving funding or not. 
    • How does being liked translate in the startup world?
    • What are things you can do to create likeability and charisma?
  • [11:13] What are the important character traits of successful Founders?
    • Why surrounding yourself with people who will challenge your ideas is so important?
    • Purely focusing on funding may not be the best way to grow a business. 
  • [14:02] The best way to capture your investor’s attention is not what you think. 
    • Why AI may not be the most interesting value, you have to offer.
    • Learn how to read the room, to read people. It’s an important skill for entrepreneurs.

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