Building a business from scratch and out of the murky sandpit of someone’s mind is a strange little adventure and business models typically aren’t even a part of it to begin with. In fact, the “business” of the business can oftentimes come much, much later.
And with The Iron Yard I’ve been trying to change that, little by little, as we grow from a small, young, upstart company into a full-blown (whatever that means) financially-solvent business. It’s not that we’re not there already, at least in form; I just know that we have much, much more work to do (and that’s a good thing).
Don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, and trust of those who might buy.
Quote via Rand Fishkin, the CEO and co-founder of SEOmoz who has been doing things a bit differently his entire career.
His company is 60+ people strong with an estimate $20MM in sales when he first said this (2012) – I’m sure he’s doing much, much more now.
The difficulty of creating a business from nothing is overwhelmingly small; didn’t think that was coming, right? I mean, think about it: Since you don’t have much to begin with you don’t have to risk much as a natural consequence. The challenge comes when you decide that you actually want to do something more than nothing.
Sadly, most businesses never grow beyond doing nothing and stay in the shadows of great intention and ideal mixed with a bit of clueless ideation and dreams.
Some of these will be called entrepreneurs, only in name though, simply because they have that “spirit” about them – an unfettered mix of lunacy and caffeine. Unfortunately they won’t be called entrepreneurs because they actually did anything with it.
You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day — so start writing.
Those are some wise words from Shonda Rhimes who has written some of the most well-known scripted dramas of our recent time. I am a writer because I write every single day.
Values are important, not only to have, but to execute against. They are important to share, to be talked about, to be lived out. They will change, slightly, over time but if anything they mature as the individual person matures.
Organizational values are like that of individual values except that there is a greater importance of modeling them and a distinct focus on the collaboration of others to create corporately understood values and value systems.
Things like honesty, integrity, trust, and respect are common values for most if not all organizations. The companies that I have built have always had these few as bedrocks, like many other businesses.
I was asked this recently in a one-off conversation with a new-ish founder and entrepreneur:
How does one measure the direction of a startup?
The honest answer, as far as I can tell, is that you simply can’t. You can only test, experiment, and respond.
Forecasting for a startup is very difficult because there is a veritable no man’s land between the tactical day-to-day activities and the large scale conquer-the-world type vision. It’s just hard to know what you’re looking at.