Who Are Your Backers?
Issue 30 - Reflecting on the people in your corner
This weekend I read Suneel Gupta's new book, Backable. The co-founder of health tech startup Rise, seasoned fundraiser, and investor writes about what makes people take a chance on you. This issue isn’t about a review of his book. It’s a quick and enjoyable read as Suneel is one of the best storytellers I know. Reading his book inspired me to reflect on who the backers in my life are.
Whether it's being a founder or an operator at someone else's company, I’ve treated work as an entrepreneurial endeavor regardless of the size of the company. This results in pitching new ways of doing things or new ideas, and you need backers whether it’s intrapreneurial or entrepreneurial.
Backers come in many forms. They are people who put their time, energy, and money into you because they believe in you. As an angel investor, I am finding new relationships to back all the time. Some need me for different reasons, and some don’t need me at all aside from a check (and that’s okay!). Backers don’t have to be literally those on your cap table and perhaps people in your life who continue to back you.
There are various types of backers, and often not the same type of person. Gupta talks about the Four Cs in his book:
Collaborator: The person who will riff on ideas with you, connect you with resources, and extend your idea.
Coach: Someone who knows you well and can help guide you through your ideas and decisions (though not makes it for you).
Cheerleader: This person gets you fired up and will always be there, especially when times are tough. They amplify your conviction.
Cheddar: The person who will poke holes and challenge your ideas (you'll see in the book why it's called this).
I created a quadrant of the four c’s to get a sense of who fits in my life here. Keep in mind that what I wrote down isn’t a comprehensive list and don’t want people to feel like it’s a MySpace Top 8.
In my next reflection, I wrote a bit on which of the Four C’s I gravitate towards the most. For me, being a collaborator and coach is what I enjoy doing the most.
Give it a try
Take a crack at it yourself. You might be surprised who comes up as your list of backers. A really quick exercise can be:
Write a list of who are the people backing you right now in your current endeavors
Who are the Four C's in your life?
Which of the Four C's are you strongest in?
If you started something new today, who would you reach out to back you? Who would show up?
I hope you have a great start to the week. I’m wrapping up Sunday by sending an email update to all the wonderful backers in my life (including Suneel).