A war chest is a metaphor for any collection of tools or money intended to be used in a challenging or dangerous situation. Historically, it referred to the chest located in the homes or barracks of soldiers, in which the soldier kept arms and armor. In the modern era, it more often refers to a collection of funds (or less occasionally special tools or equipment) intended to allow a person or organization to get through a situation that requires much more readiness or money than usual. – From Wikipedia
Many entrepreneurs go to war alone, broke, naked, and with a big open heart! They go on quoting Rocky, The Field of Dreams and Forrest Gump. It’s time for a rude awakening, because you’re in a different movie. And, if you must pick movies I would probably say that entrepreneurship is similar to The Terminator or something along those lines. When people say entrepreneurship is hard, they don’t mean Harvard hard; they mean it’s Vietnam hard. Let me say it once or at least a couple of times: Entrepreneurship is war. Entrepreneurship is war.
Deception via Innovation
Types of War Chests
Money is not the only type of war chest. While is good to have more money than your need, what’s crucial is having the right kind of money: does your investor expect an exit in 1, 5 or 10 years? Are you left with material equity for your best/early employees? Are the terms reasonable? Is the reputation/track record of your investors a good one? And so on. Aside from money you must research I.P. war chests, human capital, social and legal war chests.
Take your time and build up your war chests (all of them!). Make a habit of preparation before execution. And then, keep building it as your startup/high growth business keeps moving forward. By the way, building a war chest is the paramount responsibility of CEOs, and usually it’s also the foundation of your corporate strategy.