Who you spend time with influences who you are and how you perform: Why Staircase Ventures invests in peer support for its founders.

March 26, 2024

As an entrepreneur, you need to be focused on growing multiple things simultaneously: your customer base, product functionary, team, organizational structure, systems – and most importantly, yourself.  One of the biggest challenges for founders is to scale themselves as quickly as they scale their companies; there is a different set of skills and capabilities required as a company grows from 5 to 50 to 500 employees.  Therefore, founders need to devote significant time and energy to continually enhancing their abilities and leadership approach.

At Staircase Ventures, we believe that having a confidential, empathetic, group of peers who are going through – or have gone through – a similar founder journey is one of the critical ways for founders to scale themselves and be able to continue to thrive amidst the rapidly changing expectations of leading their company and team.  We have seen that the most effective leaders surround themselves with others from whom they can relate, share experiences, and exchange learnings.

Peer support is important, because it enables you to learn faster than the rate of your own experience.  As Warren Buffet said, “When people tell me they’ve learned from experience, I tell them the trick is to learn from other people’s experiences.” 

In addition, you become similar to those who you associate with, meaning that by spending time with strong leaders, you naturally adopt their habits and best practices.  Numerous studies have validated this concept. For instance, according to Brad Stulberg, if you sit within 25 feet of a high performer, your performance improves by 15%; sit within 25 feet of a low performer and it declines by 30%.  If you want to effectively overcome obstacles, be an inspirational leader, and achieve ambitious goals, invest time with others who consistently do these things.  As Tony Robbins said, “Who you spend time with is who you become.”. 

Finally, building authentic, trusted relationships with others who have gone through – or are going through – similar experiences reduces stress and improves performance.  Erin Chan, co-founder of Rhenti, says “When I have discussions with other founders that are a step or two ahead of us, I always learn things that have a direct impact on my growth or the growth of the company; it feels like I’ve tapped into a rare source of knowledge, which is exciting.”

This is why Staircase Ventures offers all founders 12 months of confidential, facilitated, stage- and function-appropriate peer groups for mutual learning and support. This is provided by Upteaming, which has a network of more than 2,000 founders across North America, so Staircase Ventures founders are matched with those who are most suitable to helping them in any situation.

In addition, Staircase Ventures founders build strong bonds amongst themselves.  At our recent Founder Day, our eight founders shared their experiences in developing KPI dashboards, hiring great talent, building an enterprise sales force, optimizing financial management, and structuring strategic partnerships.  They also introduced potential customers, talent, and partners to one another.  To foster this bond, Staircase Ventures founders all receive carry in the Fund.  Much like founders give stock options to their team members so everyone wins together, we share carry so all founders are incented to support and celebrate one another. 

Spending time with others from whom you can learn and who inspire you to be your best is a foundational element of continual personal growth.  As a founder, it is important that you find and build trusted, authentic relationships with peers you respect and admire.  Staircase Ventures is committed to helping our founders build these relationships so they can scale themselves as quickly as their companies.

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