Build Things that Matter
One of the biggest mistakes I've made as an entrepreneur was building something because I thought it could make me money rather than because I saw a glaring problem that I felt inspired and called to solve. Don't get me wrong, the obvious goal in building a business is to generate a profit, and bringing outside investors into the mix increases the emphasis on finding a path to profitability.
The reasoning behind having a deeper purpose for building your business is multi-faceted. Building a startup is arguably the most difficult thing one can do from a time and emotional commitment standpoint not to mention the time it takes to see the financial reward for your labor. In those most difficult moments, a connection to a deeper purpose is borderline essential to keep going and as team size increases that same connection is what will drive your first employees to keep going rather than jumping ship for greater pay and more stability.
My final argument for building something that truly matters is greater than any founder's ability to push through the tough times or motivate early employees. The world needs it. We need more solutions to issues such the as feelings of isolation that social media can cause for millennials and younger generations, protecting our data from bad actors, letting us know our personal carbon footprints and how to offset our actions, and tools to help increase access to education and resources for underrepresented groups around the world.
I'll end this piece with a quote from Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman:
1. "Your idea has to be big enough to justify devoting your life to it. Make sure it has the potential to be huge.”
2. “It should be unique. When people see what you are offering, they should say to themselves, ‘My gosh, I need this. I’ve been waiting for this.’”
3. "Your timing must be right. The world actually doesn’t like pioneers, so if you are too early, your risk of failure is high. The market you are targeting should be lifting off with enough momentum to help make you successful.”
Build things that matter! If you or anyone you know is doing so please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.