Congratulations to Simon Mycock, a British VC based in Dubai, for completing his Uganda600 project in record time! Here he shares his tips on how to be a great VC and have a smooth (ish) experience
- Contact your entrepreneur by phone and introduce yourself in the first instance.
- Don’t rely on email and ask your project coordinator to help if you get stuck.
- Contact mobile numbers are often changed without warning.
- When you first speak to your client, as well as agreeing a date and time for your first session also ask them about the best way of keeping in touch with them. Ask about SMS, WhatsApp, landline, Skype and email but most importantly check how often they access them. Some entrepreneurs may only have access to comms on a very limited basis.
- During your first session get to know each other – don’t just focus on their business, ask about their family, where they live and share this about yourself. It’s important to create trust.
- Try to understand their weekly schedule, and what time and day of the week is best for them on a regular basis for your sessions. You will need to manage exceptions, however it is much easier for you both if you have a regular time and day to meet.
- If communications are difficult, see if your project coordinator can help you by hosting your entrepreneur for their sessions at the local Grow Movement office.
- If possible follow up each session with a summary of the discussion and the tasks via email.
- Use the project management system to record everything, including comments between sessions i.e. if a sessions is rescheduled – remember Grow Movement are using this to measure the projects.
- Prior to the next session send a reminder of the agreed date, time and channel via the most appropriate comms for the entrepreneur.
- Don’t try to cover too much too soon – it’s better for the entrepreneur to focus on doing a couple of tasks well and seeing the benefits.
- The day to day running of their business will be put first so it’s important to emphasis they need to set aside time to make any changes you agree.
- Avoid business speak and acronyms – take time to explain what you mean and check for understanding. Some concepts we take for granted may be completely new for an entrepreneur.
- Try to create a structure for each session – think about using the first part to recap on the previous session, the middle part to continue progress toward the entrepreneurs’ objectives, and the last part to summarize the session and position the next session.
Monday, 7 December 2015