Five growth tips for founders from a founder

  • Written by Matthew Linnecar
  • Published on

New Zealanders are well known for their love of entrepreneurship. In 2022, Stats NZ found there were approximately 592,700 enterprises in New Zealand, which was a five percent increase from the previous year.

Snowball Effect's Director of Growth Capital, Matthew Linnecar, is no stranger to founding companies. Matt co-founded Blue Ventures, an award-winning marine conservation organisation, before several other companies followed, including Gnewt, a zero-emissions electric logistics business, which was acquired in 2017.

Alongside his role working with high-growth companies at Snowball Effect, Matt is also a fellow of the Edmund Hilary Fellowship, a group of 500+ international and Kiwi innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.

Below he shares his five top tips for founders looking to set their businesses up for success.

  1. Value alignment

    It's important to think about your values when you establish and grow your business. Who you are, what you believe and where you want to get to as a leader and as a business. It's important to be transparent with others as well as yourself. As a business owner, you can have a lasting cultural and environmental impact, so do it right! /

    Your values dictate the culture you build, what sort of a leader you are, what products and services you create, and the partners you work with, whether they are employees, customers, banks or investors.

    Your business strategy and operations should all be in alignment with who you are, what you believe, and what your ultimate ambition is. What's your purpose? What's your mission? You need to care for every stakeholder of the business as part of your mission.

  2. Hire the right people

    Hiring the right people, whether that be employees or your board, is a key part of a successful business. If the employees you hire fail, then ultimately, that's because you either didn't conduct a thorough hiring process or you didn't onboard them well enough.

    Hiring shouldn't be a quick, slap, dash process. It has to be well thought through. While there are times when using a recruiter can work and needs to happen, more often than not, try to conduct the hiring process yourself. Your business is your people.

    When appointing board members, it's important to consider whether you are in alignment with each other as well as understand what value they can add. Really think about whether they are the right people to bring on board to help you. It's essential you have a board to grow your business and keep you accountable. But ultimately, they are your boss, so they can fire you. So it's important to consider carefully who you bring on.

  3. Make innovation your friend

    Continually innovate, not just in your business idea but innovate in every area of your company, such as hiring, operations, and your company culture. Think about how you can mix things up in your business and not just do the status quo.

    It's key not to think you know everything. Innovate all the time and make it your friend.

  4. Raising capital

    Look at your capital stack carefully and map out your company capitalisation table over time. Venture capital (VC) is often the default route for growing a business after family and friends' funding has been explored. However, only a very small number of companies manage to get VC funding, and it's not suitable for a lot of companies. So you need to look at all the options available depending on what stage your business is at. Have a plan for your capital raise strategy and, therefore, your share dilution over time as you bring on board more investors.

    Looking for a partner to help you raise capital for your business? Snowball Effect is New Zealand's leading private equity investment platform and has helped Kiwi businesses raise over $150m in growth funds. Learn more about raising capital via Snowball Effect here.

  5. Invest in yourself

    Make sure to look after yourself and your family and ultimately try and enjoy the journey. Founding and running a business can be extremely fulfilling but also difficult and draining. If you're exhausted and wiped out, then you're not going to be doing well, which affects not just your business but also your family. It's necessary to think about what's important and prioritise your health and well-being.

To learn more about raising capital for your business, contact our team by calling us on 0800 SNOWBALL or emailing [email protected].