Being a Founder is easy…
…it’s actually properly executing and growing the vision (being a Finisher) which is extremely hard.
To every dreamer I have known
May Lady Luck take you home
I pray for every wannabe
Dreamin’ big and livin’ free like me
-Kenny Chesney “Like Me”
As an entrepreneur and founder, I can relate to Kenny Chesney’s words in his song Like Me, from the album The Road and the Radio. Along the road of being a Founder you meet a lot of wannabees, dreamin big and livin free. Being a Founder, by definition, means all you have done is starting something. You are a dreamer, thinking of all the ways the world could be better with your new idea, software, device, app, project or team. Founders are great and we will always need Founders. In fact, every company ever started has had founders. Apple. Google. Microsoft. Facebook. They all started with an idea from the mind of one or two people.
a person who founds or establishes.
But what about being a Finisher? Take a look at those simple definitions once again. Founder starts – Finisher completes. Seems to me Finisher’s are a lot less celebrated in our society, yet they are equally if not more important than a Founder to the success of an enterprise. A finisher enables the project to be completed. They lead the team which launches a new product or service and makes sure it gets into the right hands for success. They are the one who establishes the appropriate processes so the system can function properly. They line up investors for future growth or acquirers to fulfill the liquidation process for early stakeholders. In short, Finisher’s complete what a Founder has started. And in the end isn’t that what matters? It is interesting that a Founder can hold a majority equity stake in company, but only earn his wealth if a finisher is present to help bring things to fruition. Let it be known, some Founders are also Finishers, but it is extremely rare and it takes a lot of resiliency. I would venture to say this is the main reason why the majority of startups fail to make it to “completion” – they in fact had a Founder, but no Finisher.
There are a lot of Founders in this world, for which I are thankful for since innovation starts with a vision. But I think the world needs a heck of a lot more Finishers. Which one are you?