Mike Smerklo is a venture capital investor, author and entrepreneur who worked with some of the biggest names in the tech world. This includes Marc Andresen and Ben Horowitz, founders of Loudcloud a company sold for $1.65 billion in cash.
Mike is the author of Mr. Monkey and Me: A Real Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs.
Growing up Mike had no good role models or others to show him what successful life habits look like. However, through hard work and persistence, he went on to be a success, with a passion for helping others.
Listen to this interview on the Smart Hustle Podcast
Venture Capital Fund – Yes or No?
Mike explained that for many businesses, VC funding might not be the best option. You have to give away a part of your business, the investor will often want a board seat and they’ll be giving you direction for your business.
Having said that, for high-growth companies who are able to provide a high-rate of return to their investors, venture capital funding can be a great option.
Can your business be “big enough” to give an investor a 6 – 7 rate of return on their money?
If you can grow your business without venture capital funding – great.
5 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
Mike’s book, Mr. Monkey and Me is all about the advice for entrepreneurs that Mike felt they were not getting.
Beyond, tips like “how to write a business plan” (which is important). And beyond knowing the 7 things Elon Musk does in the morning, for example.
Mike found that every business has competition. In the marketplace, only a few emerge as the “winner”. He wanted to know what were those core traits that give entrepreneurs the most chance of success to win.
Mike’s formula is the SHAPE formula.
Why Monkey? The “monkey” is the voice in your head that tries to give you doubt, fear, and uncertainty. It whispers to you as you’re going on your entrepreneurial journey.
Self-awareness is so important for entrepreneurs to understand their strengths and their weaknesses.
Don’t try to run your business alone. Get a coach or a mentor. You need the emotional support to run your business. In addition, someone who has the experience and gone through what you’ve gone through can help you on your journey.
Be true to your values and to who you are.
There are ups and downs to running business (and life). Having a persistent mindset is so critical.
Be persistent AND listen to feedback. Don’t be so passionate about your business that you’re not listening to the reality of what the market wants (or needs).
If no one is willing to pay for it, even if it’s a great idea, then maybe it’s not the right time for it in the market.
Enjoy the journey of starting and building your business. Appreciate the moments and the opportunities you have it in.
However, know it will end at some point.
Your business is a tool to enjoy life and impact the lives of others