Life after startup – how finance became my “Minimum Viable Skill”

Finance, not my favorite skill 🙂

Battling excel sheets

It’s 01.00 AM, and there I am, locked in an epic battle with a cashflow forecasting template sheet I stumbled upon online.

Fifteen years ago, if someone had told me finance would be my jam, I’d have laughed… hard.

I mean, finance and accounting exams? Let’s just say, I had a solid history of not exactly acing them. Finance was like my arch-nemesis, and it couldn’t have been farther from anything that sparked my interest.

I barely scraped through exams, and my finance professor (shoutout to Arjen Mulder) practically threw a party when I finally passed – with a measly 5.5.

But guess what? Here I am, crunching numbers for Superconnectors.

Without an actively involved CFO to lean on, I had to roll up my sleeves and dig into bookkeeping, cash flow reports, balance sheets, and income statements.

And the more I delved into it, the more I started seeing the bigger picture. (That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without lots of huffing, puffing and swearing).

The skills we hate, are not always the ones we should dump. Why? They hold unexpected value.

Less gut feeling, more calculated

My earlier decisions were all about gut feelings: chats with clients, employees, and riding on trends.

Now, though, I’m piecing together how money flows in and out of my business, and let me tell you, it’s one heck of an eye-opener.

Filling out these prognoses and having a better grasp of the business helps me make decisions feel a bit less like a leap of fate.

Instead it helps me make much more confident decisions, clearly understanding the risk and rewards.

Don’t (always) focus on your strengths

Over the years I have always preached the power of focus, crafting my own little doctrine.

If I wasn’t good at something or didn’t like it, I’d delegate it as soon as possible.

Why waste time on things others are better at if you can use the extra time to become even better at what you rock at?

I have come to learn however that this doesn’t hold for everything.

Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean you don’t need the skill, in fact these skills can make you a more rounded professional.

I would call these skills “Minimum Viable Skills”: skills you don’t necessarily love (or even hate) but where a minimal understanding elevates your entire game as entrepreneur or professional.

For me that minimum viable skill was basic Financial literacy.

My past co-founder might have had it covered, but that didn’t mean I could afford to ignore it forever.

A waste of mentorship

Honestly, I wish I’d realized that sooner. Imagine having a skilled mentor to guide me through the financial maze step by step when I had the chance.

Instead, when me and my co-founder parted ways after 11 years I found myself scrambling to learn the basics all over again.

I’m no finance wizard now, but I’m getting the hang of it, applying the skills with a sense of logic.

Boring to you, shouldn’t mean irrelevant

Not all skills are meant to be brushed aside. Financial wizardry might not have been my cup of tea, but it’s like adding an extra spice to my entrepreneur journey.

Sure, my true passion lies in crafting culture, building communities, shaping products, and sealing deals.

But guess what? Those skills I avoided? They’re now part of my repertoire too.

Financial smarts, tech savviness, IT know-how, HR understanding – they’re not the glitzy showstoppers, but they’re essential pieces of this entrepreneurial puzzle.

So what are the Minimum Viable Skills that you keep delegating or avoiding?

Curious to hear!

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