How to Quit & 6 Other Tips for Entrepreneurs

Sean O'Riordan, COO Grid FinanceSeán O’Riordan had a steady job in a Big Four accounting firm. It looked reliable and recession-proof. What’s more, he came from a family with a high regard for such jobs.

So, he was a little nervous at the thought of telling them he wanted to chuck it all in for the uncertainty of a startup.

However, the issue was forced when his father decided it was time for Seán to think about replacing his beaten up car.

On an impromptu drive to the Audi dealership, Seán had to say this was just the wrong time to take on a new car payment.

O’Riordan (@SdoriordanG) told the story at the first Entrepreneurs Anonymous meetup of 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.

He is now co-founder and COO of GRID Finance (@GRIDFinance), a peer-to-peer financing agency for small and medium-sized companies.

O’Riordan’s journey saw him first discuss the idea with CEO and co-founder Derek Butler in May 2013, he said. He left his job in September, and it took the best part of a year to raise financing for the new venture.

Get a co-founder. If you can get that far, you have convinced at least one other person your idea has merit, O’Riordan said.

Then prepare to spend a lot of time with them. Your co-founder should be “someone you know you will get on with and, most important, has got your back,” he said.

Leave your employer on good terms. This is especially important if you want to stay in the same industry, O’Riordan said. Of his old company, he added, “They’ve been fantastic in opening doors for us.”

All you have to do is ask. Saying people in Dublin are generous with their time, O’Riordan advised asking for advice. However…

Be strategic. Don’t try to meet everyone at once. And don’t waste the time of busy people, he said. But start building up relationships, especially with potential financial backers. “It takes a while for someone to pull out the checkbook,” he said.

Research: Know what different investors want. Concentrate on the ones who work in your industry.

Have a plan. Before raising finance, “You really need to know what you are going to do with your money,” O’Riordan said.

Investors will want to know too, he added. Know how much it costs to run the business and what all of your targets are, he said.

All in sales: In a startup, every one of the team is a sales person, O’Riordan said. Drawing laughter, he finished that thought up with a shameless plug for Grid Finance.

Images taken from GRID website.