Life, Liberty, & Happiness

Can This Founder Lead?


rom my 20+ Years as a leader and 10+ years as an early-stage investor, here are the 5 things I look for in CEOs of young companies to determine if they will thrive or tank. Sometimes I’m wrong—but not often.

Can this Founder and CEO Build and Successfully Lead a Young Business?

1. Track Record of Winning
‍Does the leader have a winning track record - and the passion to keep on winning? This record may not be in leading a company, it could be in leading teams or a division of a company or a awesome non-profit leader - but regardless, the characteristic is the same.

2. Risk Identification
In a quick interview, can he or she identify the risks to the business and give insight on how to manage or mitigate these risks? Things like growth outstripping the team's capabilities, new substitutes entering the market, customer consolidation.

3. Strategic Insight
‍Is there any evidence that the leader has learned by doing many inexpensive tests to determine which strategies will solve pressing business problems or grow the customer base? I see so many young businesses whether the CEO has zero knowledge of the iterative process required to know how to secure early adopter customers.

4. Industry Knowledge
‍Does the leader know more about their industry than their competitors know? And don't be mislead - this has nothing to do with "years in the business" - it has to do with the hard work of studying industry trends, knowing the detail of competitors' business models, who's on the competitor's team, their strengths, their weaknesses, what the customers love, etc.

5. Ability to Attract Talent
Does the leader have both integrity and the "IT factor" - that hard-to-define ability to attract, hire and motivate awesome talent.

About Dr. Michael Burcham

Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.

“I built and sold a $40M company with Dr. Burcham as my mentor. This is the thing: if you EVER get the opportunity to learn from this man, from that moment forward, you’ll list him as one of the most influential people in your life, even if you live to be 90. And, you’ll know how lucky you were to have that opportunity and you’ll immediately say YES to any chance to be in his presence again—his wisdom is that impactful.”

Sherry Stewart Deutschmann

Former CEO, Letter Logic

“If you are looking for a trusted mentor and coach for yourself or your leadership team, I highly recommend Michael Burcham. He has worked with me as my executive coach for well over a decade now. Our conversations and his feedback have helped me sharpen my critical thinking skills. He’s a trusted advisor that I can confidentially speak with about any issue—and I know I’ll get valued feedback. I highly recommend him.”

Ryan McGrath

CEO, Asset Living

“Dr. Burcham’s depth and breadth of experience makes even the most ADD entrepreneurial leader sit up and take notes! His coaching skills bring out the ‘best you’ possible. He selflessly shares the good, the bad, and the ugly—leaving you with an authentic and moving experience sure to spur action and professional growth!”

Julie Lenzer

Director, U.S. Department of Commerce


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If you are ready to develop winning strategies, contact me today to schedule a confidential discussion.

Contact Michael