Leadership Culture in a Startup

All entrepreneurs understand that running a startup operation is one of the most challenging circumstances anyone can find themselves in business or in the non-profit space. The proverbial "building the plane while you're flying it" phrase is often thrown out there to describe the frenetic pace at which entrepreneurs are expected to operate, successfully.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of startup companies fail within the first year. Meanwhile, 50 percent of startups fail in their fifth year. Those are pretty daunting figures for entrepreneurs seeking to “cut the cord” and build their own companies. And not surprisingly, one of the top three reasons why startups fail is related to poor management. More specifically, many of these firms that fail do so because their cultures are broken.

We had a chance to sit down with two serial entrepreneurs on the OVP Leadership Podcast this summer to get a sense of how they apply their leadership talents to building a new team of collaborators in a startup environment. Shoaib Shafquat is founder and CEO of QCheque Corp. in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Al Pacha is the company's Chief Technology Officer. They shared important lessons about being an effective leader in newly established cultures that are changing daily.

Shoaib Shafquat, Founder & CEO of QCheque Corp.

Shoaib Shafquat, Founder & CEO of QCheque Corp.

Often times, people that have great ideas believe that their ideas will develop into operating companies. But the reality is that having a great idea is merely the first step. If you an entrepreneur is looking to sustain his or her business beyond the five-year mark, they have to be very deliberate about the culture they are building. Being so intentional about one’s culture - beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s management and employees interact - is one of the most obvious ways outside stakeholders can assess the value and potential sustainability of a company, often for the purposes investment.

Both men have started companies on their own, and have been asked to participate in other startup ventures in the past. With QCheque both men are bringing their expertise in banking and information technology, respectively, to offer a new fintech product that they hope will revolutionize the payments segment of the financial services market.