Founder resentment: How to avoid it

Founders are one of the most begrudged players in start-up land. Here’s why, and what you can do about it.

One of the most challenging (and least discussed) aspects of business is the resentment that comes during negotations and dealmaking. Whether you’re entering a relationship as an employee, investor, or founder, the friction of aligning two divergent perspectives to do a deal impacts people emotionally. Blood pressure rises, people can get angry, and, in the worst-case scenario, take that baggage with them.

A wise man once said: “If both parties don’t feel cheated, you didn’t do a fair deal.”

While reaching an agreement often requires some work, simply reaching an agreement is typically easier than arriving at an outcome that makes everyone happy. Without very thoughtful communication from both parties and a great deal of effort, achieving perceived “fairness” on both sides is rather uncommon.  Resentment can also emerge after time passes.  What is fair today might not seem fair tomorrow.

Having known my fair share of employees, investors, and founders, I find founders are the parties that are most often the ones most resented in the start-up community.  There’s good reason founders get caught in the crosshairs of negative feelings.  First, they often hold some of the largest individual stakes in a given company. Founders also have many different partners to negotiate with – employees, investors, as well as each other.

…to read this article in full, visit leading US small business resource, Inc.

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