Following is thought provoking read from Wil - comments??
Nothing gets in the way of building a great company like trying to get it launched. Unfortunately the process of starting a company is a huge distraction that actually gets in the way of building a company.
Let me explain the difference first.
Starting a company involves all the preparation work of determining your business model, writing a business plan, organizing your office and sifting through a ton of legal documents.
Building a company involves improving your product, selling your product, and ultimately, generating revenue.
While starting a company is certainly a necessary evil toward building a company, that doesn’t mean you need to bury yourself in the details. There are lots of ways you can shortcut the startup process so that you can get on to building your company right away.
Damn the Plan
Nothing is going to waste more time in getting started than preparing a whole bunch of planning documents that you may never use. You can spend months preparing business plans, market strategies and evil master plans to conquer the entire world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve pushed the company forward.
Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely value in brainstorming and planning your business before you go to market. But at some point you’ve got to just call it a day and get started. Your plan will help you set a general direction, but until you get into the market and see how things work in the real world, all you’ve got is a best guess.
In the meantime, consider a five page business overview that charts your general direction. Focus on the key assumptions you’re trying to prove, like what the price point of your product might be. Later on you can go back and adjust the bigger plan once you’ve got some real market data based on your actual experience.
Dump the Docs
All of the legal documents that typically support your plan can add another massive layer or procrastination toward building your business. You can spend (even more) months working through Operating Agreements, Employment Agreements, and Non-Disclosure Agreements to get the perfect legal argument to any foreseeable situation.
The only thing this will guarantee is that you’ll have a mountain of paperwork, another few months tacked onto your launch date, and a giant legal bill to go with it.
While the fundamental legal documents that govern your company are important, they are only really important if you have a successful company worth protecting. What may be helpful right now is to simply modify standard boilerplate agreements versus writing a bunch of new legal documents from scratch. As you learn more about your business you can always modify your documents accordingly.
No Go on the Logo
Logo creation is another area where startups waste way too much time. Unless you’re launching a new line of footwear or a soft drink, chances are your logo isn’t going to make or break you. No one is going to make a purchase decision based on the Pantone value you chose from the color wheel, or whether you chose a swoosh or a circle to envelop your company name.
The same thinking goes for just about all of your collateral items. There are plenty of stock templates that will give you a very professional look and feel without having to spend a lot of time and money. Simply perform a Web search on “Logo Template” and you’ll find plenty of great looking options for next to nothing.
Throw the Systems out the Window
If you really had the time (which you don’t) you could implement plenty of systems to handle everything from your financial reporting to your payroll to your project management process. The reality though is that you are going to generate four invoices, pay two people, and manage basically yourself and a few partners over the next year.
The most valuable time you can save right now is forgoing the implementation of a bunch of redundant systems that you may never leverage.
Later on you can implement a bunch of sweet software packages and systems. Right now you just need a couple spreadsheets and email. Leverage systems when the value of having the system far outweighs the time and expense of implementing one.
Sell Now, Build Later
The smartest thing you can do to start a company is to actually start the company.
The faster you can get on to selling your product the better. Building a company is a long process, but not necessarily a sequential one. You don’t have to wait until you’ve completed some imaginary startup checklist before you can begin talking to customers and generating revenue.
There’s not much about forming a business that you can’t change and amend later once you start to generate steam. When that time does come, you can feel good about the time you’re investing because you’ve already proven it’s a company worth spending time on.
Wil Schroter is the Founder and CEO of the Go BIG Network, the largest network of startup companies and entrepreneurs at www.goBIGnetwork.com. He is also the author of the new book “Go BIG or Go HOME”.