Michael Cohn's Advice for Startups

March 2, 2016

Entrepreneurs' primary mission is for their companies to grow and succeed. One of the best ways to wade through the crazy ups and downs of being an entrepreneur is to partner with someone who’s done it before.Michael Cohn co-founded Cloud Sherpas in 2008 and remained a member of the senior leadership team running Global Marketing as the business scaled to over 1,100 employees before exiting to Accenture in 2015. He enjoys spending his time with his wife and two children, and he loves helping entrepreneurs solve challenges as they try to get through their first year as a Village Mentor.Here are 4 pieces of startup advice from Michael's startup story:

When you’re starting a new company and have a family, your whole family must be on board.

“A startup is not a job; it’s a life. It’s not a 40-hour-a-week gig. Your partner has to be on board; expectations and communication are key to making it work.”Michael and his family saved money for years, knowing he would one day start his own company. Even though he wasn’t around much with an infant in the house for the first year of his startup, it was something he and his wife partnered together on. They shared the same vision and pressed on to see it realized.

You don’t have to have the perfect circumstances to get started.

When Michael started Cloud Sherpas in 2008, “the world was ending. The economy was collapsing, but the timing was still right for us.” Even though the times were tough for the first couple of years, Michael kept going because he knew the timing was right.

Keep someone who believes in you close.

For Michael, it was his wife. He grew tired after spending every night “reading and researching, and she’d come down and encourage me with a cup of coffee. She gave me the confidence to keep going.” Being an entrepreneur is hard, and it’s important to have supporters standing behind you to keep you going when you grow weary. Michael credits his wife with being the one to really enable him to get started, stating, “She knew I was an entrepreneur when she married me. I could not have done it without her support.”

Finally, know your role.

Every entrepreneur is good at a lot of things, but no one is good at everything. You have to know your strengths and operate in those as the business scales. As Cloud Sherpas grew, Michael “wound up running marketing, not the business over time. I could scale what I was doing by hiring better people.” Understanding his strengths, Michael found others who were better at certain things than he was.Our team is stacked with amazing mentors and advisors like Michael who have a world of advice and wisdom to share. They have lived through the stresses and joys of starting their own businesses and members can sign up to meet with any of these folks serving as Mentors and Advisors.[caption id="attachment_9436" align="alignnone" width="400"]

Village Mentor, Michael Cohn

Village Mentor, Michael Cohn[/caption]This post was written by Raleigh Rose, Mentor Coordinator of Atlanta Tech Village.

March 2, 2016
Karen Houghton