The goal of Launch + Lead is to assist Entrepreneurs in building, launching and growing their businesses. We speak directly to specific groups of entrepreneurs, as opposed to taking a “one size fits all” approach.
I’ve started by creating Execepreneur. It’s a humble effort to help you work through the journey of leaving a comfortable corporate job to starting your first company. I think it’s a process of mixing introspection with action, of understanding both the external environment while reflecting on your own strengths and weaknesses. What made you successful in Corporate does not completely line up with the skills and abilities that make an entrepreneur – it’s important to know which ones to leverage, and which to leave behind.
There’s little content that speaks directly to executives looking to make a change. When you have a family that may rely on you and you’re looking to replace fifteen, twenty or even twenty-five thousand dollars in monthly income, and given the experiences you’ve gained – the path you take to entrepreneurship will likely be very different than that of an enterprising college student or young professional.
I know the journey was unique for me. When I left a sizeable six-figure salary to become an entrepreneur I definitely felt the lack of guidance and advice out there that spoke directly to me. It also took me time to make the leap, namely four corporate jobs and business school. Only when I felt comfortable with what I had to offer and what I needed to work on (combined with the financial stability my corporate roles had provided me with) did I start my consulting company, Northshore Partners.
Now, I want to share those lessons with you, and from others who have done the same.
Who am I?
My name is Inderpal Singh. I grew up in Toronto and went to the University of Waterloo for Computer Science. I started out at Microsoft, where I learned how to build great software but felt disconnected from real business decisions. After a few years, I decided to go to Kellogg for an MBA to “learn business” as I told my family and friends at the time. While it was great from a relationship perspective, I didn’t feel I learned much about how to actually build and lead a company. It felt like the equivalent of going to medical school – I learned the theory, but I still needed to practice. I needed my version of a residency program.
So I went to McKinsey & Co., a pretty amazing management consulting company. I learned how to engage with senior executives at Fortune 500 firms. I developed the skillset to attack and solve business problems by breaking down large challenges and diligently working through solving each piece to make an impact. I loved the work, but with the birth of our first daughter, all of the travel just wasn’t worth the personal sacrifice.
That could have been the natural point to make the leap, but I convinced myself that I needed to wait and capitalize on the “brand” I had developed from Microsoft, Kelogg and McKinsey. I needed a return on that investment. So I took a strategy role at HSBC to help them with their $100 billion subprime portfolio problem and quickly rose to become a Senior Vice President. Soon after, a McKinsey friend called me up and suggested I join him at Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund. It was intriguing in so many ways – chief among them the unique personal development and financial opportunities. It seemed like the right move at the right time.
Bridgewater gave me the chance to remind myself about the strengths and weaknesses I’d learned about myself over the years and to further improve that self-awareness. Throughout my career and across all the success, I felt as though I had somehow skated by and fooled everyone. I had had successes and failures – but I wasn’t sure what the causes were. Could I actually build a business? What was I truly good at?
I knew that developing an understanding of myself and how to manage my weaker points would be critical in becoming a successful entrepreneur. I wanted to have the same success that I had in corporate roles. Now, after applying those lessons to establish my own consulting firm, I want to help others take the journey. In our first two years, Northshore did $3M in revenue and made great margins, so we’ve accomplished what we set out to do. While your risk-level may vary (consulting is obviously much less risky than investing in a large product launch), the mental shift from employee to owner is a significant challenge for many of us. I’m excited to share lessons from talented entrepreneurs into strategy, business development, and more — lessons learned in making the transition and growing our businesses.
I wish you all the success in the world. I’m here because I believe I can help with the transition, so please reach out on twitter @launchlead.