Recently Elon Musk had to do what every Founder dreads — tell his staff that they have limited funds, and if things don't improve, that it's game over.
Elon's doing it with $2.7 billion, but his problems are the same as if we had to do it with $2.7 hundred.
Letting our staff know we're running out of money while trying to rally them at the same time to succeed is a brutal game that requires extreme tact in messaging.
Now, and then later.
Right now let's be honest about where the company stands and what our challenges are going forward, no matter how significant.
Elon said "We're in code red" and that all expenses are being considered. He's pointing out that shit's getting real, and he needs his staff to either get on board to fix things or find another employment option.
Our teams joined us because they believe in the mission, and many probably still do. The conversation should be pointed toward how each person can help change our fate, if that's possible, and not around how "we're all fu*ked."
When the time comes to let folks know that we're out of extra lives, the only way to do it is short and to the point.
Now isn't the time to wax intellectual about excuses — it's time to be clear that folks need to take action (find jobs) and that anything we can do to help them in the process is absolutely on the table.
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Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes Bizplan, Clarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.
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