Growing New Businesses as a Fractional Co-Founder with Nick Rimsa

By Eric Dickmann

July 18, 2022

The Virtual CMO Podcast

Season 8, Episode 6

In episode 121, host Eric Dickmann talks with Nick Rimsa – Owner of Tortoise Labs, where he offers services as fractional Co-Founder to help ambitious entrepreneurs develop their ideas into profitable apps, products, and services. 

Located in Maine, Tortise Labs has a mission is to help Mainers turn their ideas into profitable, scalable startups.

You can connect with Nick on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Nick Rimsa

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Other Podcast Players

Fractional Co-Founder Defined

A Fractional Co-Founder is an experienced business leader who is well-versed in product solutions and experienced in building a long-term plan to drive revenue. Many times, startups find it difficult to attract seasoned professionals because of the costs associated with their salary and benefits. One increasingly popular option instead of hiring full-time employees is contracting with a fractional executive who can bring their experience to young companies. Here are some benefits of working with a fractional executive:

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional Executive

Highlights from Our Conversation with Nick:

“And I oftentimes encourage founders who are considering some sort of fractional agreement- Hey, this is a problem that I'm facing, I need you to go figure this out because oftentimes in a early stage business. And so oftentimes what I'm doing is I establish a short-term project for someone to be able to figure out without a whole heck of a lot of constraints, and are they able to do it? Are they able to achieve what it is that you want? And did you work together well?

  • [00:06:24] Do founders see a marketplace for their product, or is that a time when they get weeded out?- Nick finds that the founders who are the most successful are the ones who focus on their customers, ask the most questions, and build the deepest relationships. Often, these founders don't come from backgrounds in business or technology. They are usually parents, school teachers, or working 9 to 5.
  • [00:08:23] Do you see a mindset where founders believe they got something unique and doesn't exist?- If you're a founder who can establish who your customer is and the core value proposition, you have better odds of achieving success.
  • [00:16:00] How does a conversation about a fractional Co-Founder start?- It starts with establishing a trusting relationship with the founder you are to work with. There are so many pitfalls that they don't quite understand, and they're putting a whole heck of trust into the work that you're doing. It's imperative to establish- Hey, what is the Fractional Co-Founder going to be really good at? Where might I be able to provide additional value?
  • [00:20:00] The importance of having meaningful conversations- If you cannot grow the business to a particular stage on your own, that should not be viewed as a defeat. There's so much that needs to be accomplished as a one-person team. It’s important to bring others into your business conversations as you attempt to scale.
  • [00:23:09] How do you look at marketing when you have those discussions with these founders?- Not until founders deeply understand who their customer is and the value they are providing should they move to marketing.
  • [00:26:12] Where do you go to get educated or find additional resources for your benefit?- Nick Rimsa relies on Twitter to stay updated on marketing news and trends. There is so much great content that thought leaders share on social media for interested professionals to consume.

Fractional Co-Founder and Other Resources Mentioned

Live Stream on YouTube

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Eric Dickmann

About the author

Eric Dickmann is the Founder / CMO of The Five Echelon Group, host of the weekly podcast "The Virtual CMO" and YouTube series "Work-Life" and a fractional CMO for a variety of small and midsize companies. An executive leader with over 30 years of experience in marketing, product development, and digital transformation, he has worked with large, global companies and small startups to develop and execute marketing strategies to bring innovative products to the market.

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