I had an experience lately that crystalized how I think about business these days. Rather than talk about the experience (maybe some day), let's talk about how I view running a business.
- Why the hell do you need funding? I see apps get VC funding and can't help but wonder: Where the hell is that money going? Maybe my experience is skewed, but this stuff just doesn't cost that much.The whole bill for Montabe is less than $200/month before revenue. Admittedly, I'm not paying myself yet. But that's the point: I can do this myself for now in my spare moments and very early mornings. You can, too. If you're more the marketing-type with an idea, rather than bothering devs to do work for equity, learn to code yourself and just build the damn thing already. Chances are you'll have it done before you get somebody to sign on. And chasing VC funding is a waste of time, even if you get it. Every second this thing isn't live and up is a second further from finding out if your idea will work. It's a second further from getting feedback and ideas from actual users. It's a second wasted. And you don't have time to waste.
- If You're Thinking of an Exit Strategy, You're Wasting Your Time It boggles my mind that people actually go into a project with timeframes for when they'll get acquired. One place I've talked to wanted to get acquired so they could go to work for the buyer. Dude, there are waaaay less expensive ways to apply for a job. You're not building a business; you're building the world's most expensive job application. More importantly, the brain cycles you're spending on that would be better spent thinking of the only two things that matter: keeping your existing customers and getting new ones. Hell, anything other than those two things is a waste of your time and effort. Because those two things are incredibly difficult and should demand your undivided attention.
- If You Sold, You Failed. You're going to pour yourself into this business just to turn around and sell it so you can be employee No. 343,245 at Facebook? Dude, that's gotta suck. There are exceptions here, but acquisitions that leave the purchased company or products intact and healthy are few and far between. After all, if what you're doing was a priority for the company that's buying you, they'd be doing it already. At some point, you'll get reassigned and your minnow of a company will enviably end up digested. And you have to ask yourself: Is the money I'm getting worth killing this thing I've worked so hard to build?
- This Ain't No Lifestyle Business I'm not building a fucking lifestyle business. And when you call it that, I have to resist the urge to break things. I'm building a business, period. A sustainable business. A business I'd want to work for. And I can't imagine working on anything else.