Mike Baur is the Chairman of the Swiss Startup Factory and an expert on turning a business concept into a functioning company. The SSUF is layered into several accelerator systems that include mentoring entrepreneurs on marketing and selling the product and pitching to venture capital firms for funding. While it may seem like a lot of work to get a business started, Baur says the real work comes when the business goes online, and there’s three tips he says business owners should follow when running it.
Baur says you need to do your research on what you need to get your company going, and putting it into execution phase will depend on you taking the steps to do it. While the SSUF provides a lot of resources for entrepreneurs to get to execution phase, it’s still up to them to make it happen. Second, adapting to changes that are inevitable when running a business is must if that business is going to be successful for the long-term. And finally, you cannot be risk averse when running a business. Again, it’s not the act of starting or bringing a business to initial execution phase that’s the real risk; it’s the decisions you make every day when running it and implementing a growth strategy.
The assembly of the SSUF and its executive team came about when Mike Baur and several others left the offices of some of Switzerland’s largest banks and decided it was time to join the startup revolution that was sweeping business guilds and college campuses around the world. Baur had previously thought his entire future would be in banking, especially when he entered an apprenticeship at UBS Bank and a human resources advisor told him as much by showing him a career chart. He excelled as a bank advisor and reached upper management status by the time he reached his 30s, but UBS Bank went through a shakeup and saw many of its branches close when the 2008 US mortgage crisis hit.
Mike Baur took another position at Clariden Leu Bank for a few years, but by this time banking was undergoing an identity shift, and Baur no longer wanted to spend long days in a bank office anyway. Baur became excited about the plans for the SSUF upon leaving banking not only because he believed in its mission, but also because its atmosphere is much more laid back than traditional corporate culture. With a mix of both physical outdoor activities and training sessions on startups, the SSUF has become one of Switzerlnd’s most popular incubators, and it’s started building networks all across Europe.