Even Leaders Need a Helping Hand


We’ve all heard the saying: “it’s lonely at the top”.

Those who saw Larry Kestelman's interview with Peter Switzer will have heard his thoughts on the challenges of entrepreneurship. Life as a founder can feel isolated. Along with the complexity of forging a world-beating business, there’s the difficulty of making the toughest decisions without the support of experience.

Without the backing of someone who’s been there and done that, business can be brutal. Believe it or not, every entrepreneur who’s really made it has been through tough times. From Kestelman to Branson, Zuckerberg to Trump, there’s not one who can say it was easy – and often a lack of guidance and support is the hardest part.

Speaking to Switzer, Kestelman said: “What I didn’t have is someone to help me, put me on the right path, and I think the number of mistakes I’ve made can actually be eliminated and people can succeed… probably quicker than I did.” It’s a signal of intent from the serial businessman, whose perspective is reflected in his working philosophy.

For Larry, watertight process is a crucial part of enterprise, but so too is support. Which is why the winning founders in The Big Pitch will receive personal mentoring from Larry and the senior team at Oxygen Ventures. It means entrepreneurs get access to lessons that are otherwise hard-learned, progressing with fewer setbacks to reach their potential sooner.

 

There’s No School Like Experience

Most founders know their industry inside-out. There’s no substitute for that kind of insight. But an MBA and a decade in the field can never prepare you for the pressures of big time enterprise. It’s no surprise that some leaders feel stranded when difficult choices have to be made… after all, those decisions often affect many, and there’s no guarantee of success.

Prior to that point, most will have had access to people they could tap for tips; they may have had mentors, colleagues or bosses who could point them in the right direction. But as a leader of a business with global ambitions, your network can suddenly feel all too intimate. Finding a person with the expertise to guide you through can be nigh-on impossible.

Businesses backed by Oxygen Ventures have access to a fantastic range of resources including marketing, legal, design, development and financial consultancy. It’s a unique environment, meaning every tough question can be answered. But when you’re talking about the high end of business theory, the best in those fields may still struggle to guide you.

That’s when one-to-one mentoring from enterprise’s elite is an invaluable resource. Working directly with leaders like Larry Kestelman is the beginning of bigger and better, backed by the expertise and experience of someone who knows business like the back of his hand. And in those rare circumstances when one eminent entrepreneur isn’t enough, Larry will open up his extensive network to founders.

 

At Oxygen Ventures, we believe investors should offer more than cash. While we invest transformative sums in promising digital startups, our investment goes deeper than that. We provide crucial support for the lifespan of the company – not just cash injections at the low points. Mentoring from the best in the business is part of that deal, and we think it makes a real difference.