I’m starting a new business to address a different market segment. I’m also working on some new businesses with Stephen and Nick Saber of the CrossTech Group. Some time soon, there’ll be another venture started with Brian Clark and Darren Rowse and Sonia Simone and a few more, too. It seems that the last four years have been a lot of started businesses, all of them with specific targets and specific markets.
It’s different, how we do it these days. I’m thinking about it, as I have a group of friends and respected colleagues helping me work through ideas on a new project. How one starts and launches a business these days is a lot more fluid, more flexible, and more learn-as-you-go than it used to be.
When We Started New Marketing Labs
For instance, when I started New Marketing Labs, I had Stephen and Nick to help with the back-office stuff, but I had free reign to make something happen. I hired a couple of smart guys, and we just put up our shingle. We didn’t even have a website. We just started telling people we were in business. Soon, we had a client.
Our client was kind and helped us cut our teeth. What we learned, we invested into our next clients, so they’d suffer a bit less. We discovered what people wanted, what they didn’t want. We retooled our offerings accordingly. We experimented, we explored, we tested and tried things out in the live marketplace. And everyone benefited.
But we tried things, iterated, and made corrections and new rules as we went along. We had the pirate ship mentality of chasing gold (goals, in our case), and fleet maneuvers be damned.
How the Internet Changed Business Making
In my thinking, the Internet is to blame with how we make new businesses. It’s something to do with thinking about single-serving sites like Twitter, and/or the modular way that business can be conducted with a federation of loose connections instead of with a solid backbone. We also have all the infrastructure to move quickly, to shift, to do things in a distributed and collaborative fashion.
Think about it. I can set up Freshbooks to do my invoicing, build a quick WordPress site, use Google Docs for my planning tools, use PayPal to take money, and Twitter and Socialcast (or Google Wave) to do my team planning, can use Batchbook to keep my CRM, and so on.
There are dozens of iterations on the above. It’s all there to be used for our dreams.
But go a step back. We can find like minds easier. The moment I wrote that I’m thinking about the future of adult education, I had an inbox full of willing collaborators. If I told you I wanted to write a pop culture blog with video about men’s culture, a bunch of you would jump in, too. That’s the thing. We can issue a call to action easier, too.
Oh, and if you get stuck, you can find the people who know the answers easier. LinkedIn Answers and Twitter and Facebook are bursting at the seams with people who would love to help you.
Think. Sketch. Execute. Revise
To me, the new formula of business is this: think. sketch. execute. revise. It’s important to consider contingencies. It’s important to be prepared for what can go wrong. But the best way to find out what’s going to go wrong is to launch and find the flaws.
This is top of mind to me right now, as I’m about to launch a business in a marketplace that I don’t fully understand, with a product that I’m still developing, to a bunch of people who I don’t necessarily have neatly corralled. Am I afraid? Not at all. I’ve got smart collaborators. We’ll figure it out. Will we upset someone along the way? No question. Tell me one business that hasn’t made a mistake. The goal, I imagine, is not to make any fatal mistakes.
Think. Sketch. Execute. Revise.
What’s Your Business?
Where’s your passion right now? What’s the business you’re planning? How are you going about building it?
Let’s talk about that.
Photo credit arquera