The one thing start-ups forget to invest in - BioInnovation Institute

The one thing start-ups forget to invest in

The one thing start-ups forget to invest in

What does your personal development roadmap look like? If you don’t have one, you better start working on it if you are building a start-up. According to Business Psychologist, Cecilie Willer, many start-up teams are so focused on business development that they forget an important piece of the puzzle in creating a successful and impactful start-up: Personal development. As she puts it, the mind is both the main driver and main blocker of success for start-ups.

With a background in business psychology, Cecilie Willer has led a corporate start-up at Danske Bank as well as built her own start-up. After those experiences, she decided to build a business around helping founders and founder’s teams create successful start-ups. During the fall run of the BII Business Acceleration Academy, she did a workshop with the seven teams in the program to introduce them to personal development in a start-up.

We had a talk with her about developing a successful mindset.

Why is mind-set so important when building a start-up?
It is challenging to build a start-up and fear and doubt will be two of your buddies on this journey. Especially if you envision making an impact on society with your start-up as many of the companies at BII do. It creates an extra layer of pressure and it is well-known in psychology that it is necessary to have an outlet for frustrations and worries. If you don’t, your personal problems often become business problems.

How so?
An example could be the unwillingness to let go of responsibilities. You will need to work on that in your personal development, so it does not become a problem for your business. It is a huge transition going from being a scientist to becoming an entrepreneur and then leader of a company. We have business roadmaps to help that process, but we need personal development roadmaps to match.

What makes a good team?
There is one common challenge amongst start-ups and that is dealing with failure. Teams who succeed in constructively dealing with failure perform much better than others. Failure will happen over and over again, and successful teams handle this by quickly gathering everyone for a discussion on the five key learnings from the experience and focus on those going forward.

What is your best advice to start-ups?
Besides working on a personal development roadmap to match your business development roadmap, I have five points for start-up teams:

Take time to reflect – your mind is the key driver of your start-up, and you can’t develop your mind if you do not reflect

Start showing vulnerability – you will die being a super(wo)man all the time and so will your start-up

Don’t forget your friends and family – you are not your start-up, you are human and humans need friends

Drink beer with your co-founders – founder teams are like marriages they need to be taken care of

Befriend your fear – having your own business goes hand in hand with fear. It’s how we chose to live with the fear that distinguishes us


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Impact Report 2022