The Disproportionate Impact of Coaching on Startup Survival

It is a known fact that startups which are accompanied or coached, view their chances of success as being much higher compared to those that are not. In fact, 83.9% of accompanied startups assess their chances of survival as strong, especially during the current uncertain climate. The right mentoring and coaching support facilitates a startup’s transformation and enables roadmap planning and execution, without straying from the ultimate vision and goal.

If your chances of survival increase thanks to the right coaching support, where and how do you get the help you’re looking for?

MAIN: Developing Entrepreneurship in Quebec
MAIN, also known as Mouvement des accélérateurs d’innovation du Québec, states that their mission is "to improve the cohesion and efficiency of the business incubator and accelerator ecosystem and to increase its impact on the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in Quebec."

FUN FACT: It is actually thanks to the coaching service for innovative and technological SMBs (PMEit) administered by MAIN that we’ve been able to work with some of our incredible clients, Wastack, LiveScale, Blaise Transit and Enkidoo, and provide them with product management, consultancy and coaching support. See the end of this article for more information on how we helped bring these companies and their product management to the next level.

With the sharing of resources, knowledge and best practices, MAIN encourages collaboration between accelerators and incubators as well as helps increase the number of quality entrepreneurial projects. MAIN's Startup Barometer gives access to weekly statistics regarding the needs and challenges startups are facing during the current economic crisis.

When looking at the latest numbers, 75.5% of startups rate their chances of survival as high, 13.5% have zero doubts as to the survival of their business, and 2.7% of startups assess their chances of survival as weak. But to keep the chances of survival high, asking for help is imperative. Coaching and mentorship play a significant part in the success of startups - it allows them to transform and excel in their market and industry.

A Good CEO Knows When to Ask for Help
At Bain Public, we believe a great product should be the first focus of every startup. Product management is a job that encompasses elements of business strategy, engineering, marketing and market research. It’s a combination of skills that lead to building great products.

The foundation of any successful team is their leader. Much like a head coach in professional sports, the product manager is the leader of the team. They establish trust and create a culture of open-mindedness. They determine the vision and build a roadmap that will lead their team on a path to achieving goals. Product managers can accelerate a company’s growth and make the next financial milestone.

Due to the constant evolution of the product manager’s role, in the startup world, often people become product managers by default, and they don’t quite understand how to take on this responsibility.

Are you a product manager? Startup founder? CEO? CTO? Whatever the case, let’s assume you’re the decision-maker behind your product. This means deciding what features to develop, when to improve them and how to get users involved.

On the one hand, as the CEO, you have to design, build and nurture the product team and help them drive product strategy and goal alignment. On the other hand, it can be easy to wind up taking on a lot of the heavy-lifting and trying to do everything yourself. You have to find a balance. A great CEO has the confidence and humility to ask for help, to rely on outside experts and to surround herself or himself with people that excel in other fields, such as product leadership.

By asking for help and coaching support, you’re further enabling your product leadership team to think strategically and execute products with confidence and efficiency. This will be the driving force for your company's success.

Bain Public’s Career Development Plan
Did you know 16.2% of startups identified the importance of innovation support as a way to increase their chances of survival? At Bain Public, we can help fast-track the development of your product management and leadership. It comes in the form of our step-by-step Career Development Program. Whether you’re a founder or a member of the product, engineering or management team, if you need expert advice, we’ve set up a series of virtual workshops. Bain Public’s development programs provide the strategies, tools, processes and practical skills that product leaders need to create innovations, adapt to market changes and anticipate what's next.

As part of this program, we’ll start by evaluating your current product, looking at what parts are being used and which areas need improvement. We’ll look at the hard choices that surround building new features and why the word ‘no’ is the most important word in the product manager’s vocabulary. Part of the process will also include giving you a checklist through which every new feature will have to pass. We’ll also discuss how to roll out the features and ensure your customers see the value in them.

Some other details on the program include:

  • Targeted to startups, scale-ups or SMB organizations
  • It takes place over 12 weeks and is live via Google Meet
  • 60 minutes learning, 60 minutes workgroup session each working day
  • 12 lessons in total, plus, 6 hours of Q&A or one-on-one coaching/mentoring
  • All lessons are recorded and available afterwards
  • A maximum of four people on each call

This program is something we have trialled, iterated, refined, and repeated over the last three years and it has been a key component of success for both Bain Public and the organizations we work with.

See here for more information on Bain Public’s Career Development Program.

The Companies We’ve Worked With
As we mentioned earlier in the article, the coaching service for innovative and technological SMBs (PMEit) administered by MAIN has led us to work with a variety of clients, from live video shopping solutions to AI and automation companies. Check out below to see how our product management, consultancy and coaching support helped take these companies to the next level.

Thanks to the Centech acceleration program, Bain Public has worked closely with Wastack, a company combining hardware, AI, IoT and SaaS to automate landfill operations. With our help, Wastack has been able to combine the best of all tools and humans into an intelligent platform that can perform multiple tasks. Today, as our partnership together continues, Bain Public has helped them significantly streamline their product review and approval processes as well as refine their vision and bridge the gap from strategy to execution.

"In the waste industry, there are just so many things to do. As CEO, I was pushing these ideas from the field to the team. I had no clue about the struggle it generated as they coped with all that unstructured information. Paul and his team helped us tremendously with their process to decide what was worth pursuing and in which order. They removed the chaos that was surrounding our R&D development, and we performed much better since, with a better product and a plan to get where we want to go." Julien Chosson CEO, Wastack

See here for more on our work with Wastack.

Livescale is a software company in Montreal, bringing brands an innovative live video shopping solution to create authentic and engaging relationships with customers. Thanks to the Founder Fuel acceleration program, part of Bain Public’s approach to assisting Livescale was by helping their product manager, Chanida Rayrolles, and guiding her towards understanding the weekly step-by-step process of managing products.

Our collaborative work has challenged Chanida to go much deeper into her thinking process and to be as objective as possible. In the moments where she needs another perspective, she can always count on Bain Public to help her navigate complex issues, create a well-developed strategic planning process, and achieve strategic value for the company.

"Working with Bain Public was key to making our company pivot, from a tech-led company to a product-driven company. In order to transform and assess our cultural change, we required the proper tools, but also to be challenged on our vision, our execution, always remaining focused on what we want to achieve. Bain Public was of tremendous support toward those objectives" Virgile Ollivier, CoFounder & CEO.

See here for more on our work with Livescale.

Blaise Transit
Blaise Transit increases the cost-efficiency and user experience for multi-passenger vehicle fleet operators by optimizing it around their user's needs. Their product boosts the efficiency for mass transportation worldwide with an AI-based on-demand bus platform and predictive intelligence dashboard. They plan on balancing the transport of commuters/passengers for hundreds of cities. After meeting at Techstars Montréal AI Accelerator, we provided them with product leadership consulting as well as coaching and advising services.

"Paul and the team at Bain Public have helped us build our entire technical roadmap from the ground up. Before working with Bain Public, we had been developing our software without a clear direction of where we were headed. Since starting to work with them, our entire team has visibility on what we’re building, why we’re building it and what’s coming up next on the roadmap. This has been incredibly helpful for efficiently allocating resources, prioritizing features and allowing us to show potential investors where we’re headed." Justin Hunt, CEO, Blaise Transit

See here for more on our work with Blaise Transit.

Enkidoo offers a suite of tools so that SMBs can effortlessly reach productivity growth through a high accuracy forecast for their SKUs. They can also help cut costs, make companies more agile and handle the rapid change that comes with the movement of their supply chain around the world. After meeting at Founder Fuel, Canada’s leading venture accelerator, we provided them with product management consulting as well as coaching and advising services.

See here for more on our work with Enkidoo.

Thanks to Loren O'Brien-Egesborg for helping write this article and to Gabrielle Drouin and Abigail Ramirez for reading drafts and overseeing aspects of its publication. Also, if you have any feedback or criticism about this article, then shoot us an email

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About Bain Public

Bain Public, acquired by X Machina-AI Inc. in January 2022, offers consistent roadmap planning processes & tools for business leaders and product managers organized around what motivates, inspires and improves growth. Bain Public offers a variety of articles, e-books and approaches designed to help organizations understand their digital strategies, introduce elements of roadmapping and establish product-led change amongst the senior leaders and managers. Our approach, product, expert advice and coaching helps entangle complex technology, people and roadmap dynamics.

About XMachina

X Machina-AI seeks to provide a platform for the acquisition of Artificial Intelligence ("AI") entities in North America. The company’s thesis is based on an aggregation strategy to acquire successful AI targets and make them better through the addition of growth capital, streamlining of corporate processes and human capital acquisitions. The current sector focus of the Company is on enhancing supply-chain efficiencies, logistics and manufacturing.