A Bain employee-turned-startup-founder says money isn't everything in the early days of a new business

Nicholas Miller GatherGather‘You have to feel confident that becoming a better leader or manager is something you’re committed to,’ says Gather CEO Nicholas Miller.

Angel investors, boot-strapping, and seed money — unsurprisingly, a lot of startup jargon centres around cash.

Raising money is considered a crucial measure of success for any fledgling business.

But it’s not everything, says Nicholas Miller, the co-founder and CEO of service industry software Gather.

In 2012, Miller left his job as a senior associate at Bain & Company to launch his event management software startup. Four years later, he raised $US2.5 million in Series A funding. But, despite successfully raising these funds for his own startup, Miller says focusing too much on this step can be a serious mistake for entrepreneurs.

“I think a misconception is that funding is the be-all-end-all of success,” he tells Business Insider.

So, what should people launching their own small businesses focus on instead?

“People focus way too much on raising money and focus a lot less than they should on proving product market fit and getting their first 10 unaffiliated customers,” he says.

According to Miller, whose Atlanta, Georgia-based company now employs around 50 people, startup founders should also focus on their own leadership development early on.

“You learn a lot about yourself during the early stages when you’re just struggling to grasp at straws and find something that will be the path forward,” he says.

So, instead of constantly fretting about funding, focus on your own development as a manager too.

“When people romanticize growing businesses, they forget that it’s really so much about the people you have at the company and making sure that you not only bring the right people in, but develop them over time,” he says. “You have to feel confident that becoming a better leader or manager is something you’re committed to.”

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