I often say, 'You will always be a Dad' to new fathers, who are just beginning the lifelong journey of caring for a child (and an adult, in all cases, as being a parent never ends).
I had the realization this morning on my walk that the same applies to founders and their start up. Regardless of what happens, you were around at the birth and were responsible for making it successful (or not) for a number of years. It will always be part of your life.
In that vein, here are a few thoughts on nurturing your 'baby', Dad:
1. Treat it as unique and ever so special: listen to what others have to say about how to run your start up, but realize that, in the end , it is your baby and you need to make the decisions about how best to help it grow up.
2. Realize it will have growing pains, but that you are still Dad: sometimes problems arise, like teenagers mouthing off. You are the one who has to take the deep breath and be the Dad, imparting wise advice (hopefully) to your employees and continuing to be the biggest cheerleader for you company.
3. Push it out of the nest: You can only help your child be successful for so long. The same is true for start ups. Be prepared for the day when your company is ready to fly from the nest, perhaps to new ownership or leadership. Be happy and grateful, as you have had many nice years together and it's time to move on.