What if I told you someone who runs an incubator in Barcelona believes that there are far more important things than having a business plan when setting up a startup? Francisco Badia, an entrepreneur himself and a well-respected strategic advisor for companies and investors, firmly believes that the most important things when it comes to starting a business are much more profound. He is heading a new project in Barcelona called Magis Teams, and it’s far from just another incubator: it’s a coaching program that looks at entrepreneurship on a personal level, and may contribute to changing the way that entrepreneurs live and work today. Their goal? Proving that there’s so much more to entrepreneurship than ambition, a sensational idea, or even a solid business plan.
The Charm of the Startup World
“At the beginning, you don’t really know what you’re doing.”
Francisco fell in love with the intellectual challenges and constant unpredictability that you can only find in the startup world seventeen years ago, when, after having worked for the company Roca, he was asked to become CEO of a Barcelona startup.
“At Roca, we used to have plans for four years and review them every year. When I started working with a startup, I had a plan for one year, and had to review it every three months. That’s what I liked about it. At the beginning, you don’t really know what you’re doing, where you’re going with your company. And you have to rethink your position very often,” Francisco says.
Ever since, he has been involved in the management of several startups, started his own company, and finally decided that advising organizations as a consultant was the way that he could add the most value. He started Impulse 2 Grow eight years ago, and his primary goal was to create a company where he could have fun – while also aiding companies make decisions at the most crucial strategic points. “We help people rethink their financial model, so they can present their company to investors or a potential acquirer. And we also advise investors,” he explains.
Success Is Overrated
“You should always be doing something that you have fun doing. That makes you happy. That is meaningful to you.”
Even though Francisco and Diana, his partner at Impulse 2 Grow are known for being excellent financial strategists with an extensive network of business contacts, they believe that, for an entrepreneur, there is something else that is perhaps equally as important as getting funding. And that something is no other than the entrepreneur’s own happiness.
“People are often so focused on trying to achieve success that they forget to ask themselves these simple questions: does this project make me happy? Is it really worth so much time and effort from my part? Am I having fun? You should always be doing something that you have fun doing. That makes you happy. That is meaningful to you. That’s what’s most important,” Francisco says.
“Failure is the most likely outcome. Success is an exception.”
“Here in Spain, everyone is focused on succeeding. Failure is looked down on, it’s something that you should be ashamed of. But in reality, in the startup world, failure is normal. Eight out of ten startups fail, so you actually have a better chance of failing than succeeding. And this is why you have to do something that you enjoy. Because if you fail, at least you had a good time. At least you’ll remember it as a good experience, and when you start thinking about starting up again, you will have a good feeling about what you did. Your investors will see that you did your best, you fought with passion. You may have failed, but that’s normal. Failure is the most likely outcome. Success is an exception,” Francisco explains.
How to Start Up – With or Without an Idea
“We don’t want to be just another incubator. We want to focus on teams, on people growing and connecting with their inner selves so that they can do something meaningful.”
In order to do something that they feel is meaningful to them, Francisco and his partners have decided to start a new project that will be focused on helping startups in the earliest stages: from even before a team has formed or an idea has been born.
“For a few years now, we’ve been doing startup coaching, helping different programs with incubating startups. And now, we’ve decided to do something similar on our own: we’ve created Magis Teams. The idea of Magis Teams is to try to transform the way entrepreneurship is done. We don’t want to be just another incubator. We want to focus on teams, on people growing and connecting with their inner selves so that they can add value, do something meaningful. We are doing open calls at the moment, and we are completely open to any sorts of ideas. In fact, when you apply on the website, you can choose between two options: ‘I have an idea’ or ‘I don’t have an idea’. We decided to do this because we think that it will allow us to work with lots of very interesting people, and it has presented us with quite a few interesting matchmaking opportunities already. So, if a team is lacking a member for an important role, maybe this way we can find the right person for them,” Francisco says.
So who can apply?
“There are two conditions. One, it has to be something that is scalable, that has a competitive advantage, that can be invested in. Two, it has to be something that you enjoy doing, that you have fun doing,” he explains.
“Your secret is something that makes sense to you. If you’re following someone else’s path, then it’s not a secret.”
Coaching is a very important part of what Magis Teams has set out to do. Francisco has written a book titled Meaningful Entrepreneurship that summarizes the method that he believes can best aid entrepreneurs (or soon to be entrepreneurs) in figuring out what whether they’re investing their energies in the right project for them. He chose a methodology that has been in use for over 500 years, namely the exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, to create a practical guide to introspection, meditation, and self-examination for those who want to find out where whether the business that they’re about to start can be aligned with their deeper passions and talents, and whether it will grant them a feeling of fullness, satisfaction and empowerment.
Find Your Happy Moments
So what’s his advice to all those who are on the brink of starting a new business?
“My advice would be to look back on your life. Look at the moments when you were happiest, when you were feeling good, when you had a sense of fullness. Really think about it, and see if those moments match what you’re about to do. In entrepreneurship, everyone is focused on doing, doing, doing, and no one is really thinking. Go somewhere quiet for a few days, clear your mind and allow yourself some time for thinking. What were the moments in your life when you felt the happiest? Look back on your studies. Which subjects did you really enjoy? Think about the project that you’re about to start. Does it match?”
Francisco believes that there is no one secret to successfully running a company.
“The most important thing is for you to be happy. People like to ask successful individuals what their secret is. What is it that they know, but no one else does? Well, the answer is: your secret is something that makes sense to you. If you’re following someone else’s path, then it’s not a secret.”