Companies are started by people with a willingness to invest.
Money and talent usually. Supported by passion and pragmatism. Both are required.
For those investing talent, the commitment is a full-time one. Sometimes paid. Often not. Or at least not until everyone else is.
When compensation comes, it does so slowly to begin with. And always below market rates. A sacrifice on every level. One made in the hope of a more rewarding tomorrow.
For some, this investment is part of the deal. A small cost to pay for the benefit of owning your own business.
For others, it forms part of an emotional ledger. A debt to be repaid in full as circumstances allow. Often in the form of reduced effort for the same pay.
This is not a malevolent point of view. But it is an entitled one.
A difference difficult to separate for those founders still fully committed to the day to day. And for whom a growing company has brought greater responsibilities. An imbalance that can lead only to resentment and mistrust.
The solution is simple. Based in two age-old economic truths.
1. Pay profits based on ownership.
2. Pay salaries based on current contribution.
A formula that aligns interest to effort.
And keeps everyone focused on long-term success.