A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.

1/20/2006

Business: Getting Started

Over on the blog webdevs.blogspot.com there is a post comparing Paul Graham’s startup approach to Joel Spolsky’s startup approach. I found it interesting because TechBert is comparing apples and oranges.

So how do you start a company? You start by figuring out what you really want to accomplish. Do you want to build a company to flip or do you want to build an institution? Knowing your exit-strategy will help you decide when and how much funding to pursue.

What resources are currently available to you? This tells you where you are now. And as you build your business plan you will be mapping out how you will get from where you are today to your exit strategy.

As you work through your business plan one of the questions that you will need to answer is, who is my customer? Further refining your approach. Questioning, questioning, questioning.

Each question you answer directs you to the startup approach that will work best for you. Because we are all different each person who sits down and seriously considers what business they want to start is going to end up getting there in a different way. There is no guarantied path to success.

As you read through the points about Paul and Joel you can clearly see that they are taking very different approaches and going after different markets. The point I want to make is that they are both successful and they got that way by following the paths that worked best for them. And that is exactly the formula that any aspiring entrepreneurs should take.

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3 Comments:

At January 20, 2006 2:32 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

Such obvious questions, but I'll bet that there are many founders don't confront reality and answer these questions for themselves.

 
At January 20, 2006 9:25 PM, Blogger Pankaj Jangid said...

What I feel is that if you validate a business idea against various business framework available, the possibility of success is more. One such framework could be found in the book The Innovator's Solution (http://www.theinnovatorssolution.com/) by Christensen.

 
At January 23, 2006 4:18 PM, Blogger Kim Greenlee said...

While I agree that it is valuable to measure your business against similar businesses and business models, I don’t think that following exactly what another business did or has done is the key to success. I’ve read Mr. Christensen’s work and I have enjoyed it. As he points out innovation is key. This means being creative and staying aware of you market and competitors.

I think of business like a hockey game, you could use soccer if that is your sport; both sports are extremely easy to learn, but very hard to master. And like business, both sports are fast paced, adaptive, and there is a framework within which you can make your decisions.

My brother-in-law, Matty, coaches hockey at a prep school in Massachusetts. It is a very serious hockey program because he is preparing those kids for college scholarships and potentially hockey careers. I coach recreational hockey, the women I coach play for fun and the competitive ones play to get better. We have observed that plays he might teach his team will not work for my team. For example, a tip in is a great scoring tool but very few of the women I coach can hit the puck hard enough to make that type of play work. So instead of having my skaters position themselves in front of the goalie I have them camp out on the back door. This increases their scoring potential but it is not the way Matty would have his team position themselves. This is adapting to the situation and one of the reasons my favorite business book is “Confronting Reality” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan.

The ability to confront your reality is, in my opinion, the most important skill anyone can learn. Look at where you really are and understand what resources you have available to you. Only by knowing the reality of where you are, where you want to be, and confronting that reality daily can you reach your objectives. And because each person’s reality is different each person will take a different path to reach similar objectives.

 

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