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Huddle Up!

Coach or Captain?  Startup expert shares which cap you should wear and other tips to earning the big W at launch.

Kathy McShane is a serial entrepreneur.  She led numerous “intrapreneur” product launches at MasterCard early in her career and took the startup leap launching Kendrew Group, a marketing agency whose clients included HBO, Visa and Showtime.  Most recently, she founded Ladies Launch Club and authored The Survivor’s Guide for Female Entrepreneurs in 2015.

Kathy’s entrepreneurial spirit has always been matched with a passion for mentoring.  “I was involved in many new product launches early in my career but I found that once they matured, I was less interested.  During those years, I mentored many young female professionals.   I had a love of all things new and I had learned a lot about the differences between how women and men approach business launches.  I wanted to pour that experience into forums which help aspiring women entrepreneurs succeed.”

Since Team sheBOOM is gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday, I asked Kathy about teamwork and the synergies between sports and business.  Turns out there are many!  She shared her top insights for locking in a Win on Launch Day:

  • You are the captain, not the coach.  You need a coach.  “When I was first introduced to Ladies Who Launch, I fell in love with their incubator programs and we’ve adopted a similar model.  We walk women through the startup journey and assess their commitment level.  We pair them with solutions-oriented peers and coaches who are empathetic but objective.  A good coach balances intensity with open dialogue.  Whether its an incubator program, Mastermind or Peer-to-Peer, find a facilitated peer group with an objective coach and pool of trusted advisors.”
  • Recruit key players beyond your immediate staff.  “I was scaling an agency based in a small CT town at a time when most of the talent was commuting to Madison Ave.  I had to be creative.  I increased my team through job sharers and remote employees, well before it was commonplace.   Today I see many of our Club members connecting directly and serving as extended team members for each other.  I also remind women that family members are part of the team.  Their commitment level is just as important, it’s a very real success factor.”
  • Join your own peer team.   “In big business, CEOs have networking forums that facilitate transparent, confidential dialogue about business challenges.  Founder needs are no different; whether it’s a regional club or Mastermind group, stay involved.  Think of this group as your peer team, outside your business, there to support your ongoing success.”
  • Tough loss?  Leave it on the field.  “It’s absolutely critical to understand the difference between you and your business.  You may hear stark criticism about your launch plan or your commitment level. That’s business. You can’t take it personally.  You can’t go home and cry in your Prosecco.”

We’ll drink (Gatorade) to that!  Thanks, Kathy, for your winning strategies.

Coach, Captain, Player?  How are you recruiting your A-Team?  Comment below and help aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their big win.