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Article 3 Common Ground January 8, 2010

Posted by Lawrence Lenihan in Uncategorized.
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The common ground here is very simple and straightforward:  COMMUNICATE!  Communicate during the due diligence process about how the entrepreneur and the VC will communicate and about what types of issues you will communicate.  Communicate regularly between board meetings (this is when the real work happens anyway!).  And, finally communicate during the board meeting.  Interactive is good as long as it is productive, respectful, focused, drives actions (not airtime) and is accountable.  But don’t mistake direct for disrespect.  Sometimes in our quest to be polite and proper, we don’t screw up enough courage to say directly what needs to be said.  If time has been invested in building a strong relationship built on trust and respect, this is not a problem.  But where that relationship is lacking, candid communication sometimes has the opposite effect, unfortunately.

Actions are orders of magnitude more important than words.  Value add means doing something, not just saying something.  And doing something means doing something to help, something that generates value for the company and assists the management in achieving the goals and objectives that were set for the business.  But for a VC, as important as knowing what/when to do something is knowing when not to do anything.  Sometimes our biggest value add is our experience that tells us when to get the Hell out of the way!

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