Steve Denning is one of my favourite writers on the future of capitalism and management. As part of an article about the New Centre of Gravity of Management yesterday he reiterated what is fast becoming a cliche amongst the entrepreneurs I talk to, namely, that all the best business are ‘purpose’ or ‘mission’ driven. Making money (for shareholders) is the result of having a mission to help customers, not a goal in itself. He gave four examples:
- In the private sector the mission of a company is create a customer
- In health it’s to help patients
- In education it’s to teach students
- In government it’s to help citizens
Similarly, our purpose here at Forward Partners is to help entrepreneurs. Our belief is that the better we are at helping entrepreneurs the more we will be able to get into the best deals. We talk more about partnering than helping, but the idea is the same.
In line with our purpose we look at everything we do and ask ‘how does that help the entrepreneur?’. We have restructured our due diligence process to be quick and transparent and are introducing a workshop which is designed to benefit the company as well as help us evaluate the opportunity. We are also restructuring the way our operational team partners companies after we’ve invested to be more transparent and deliver more value. More on that to come in the near future.