Monday, February 26, 2007

Building a new business is hard work...

And that's not exactly a surprise is it. Thinking about where we are now in our project to build a new retail business vs. where I thought we could be by now, it's a hell of a lot harder than I thought.

So even if you are well funded (which we are) this building new business thing is not a walk in the park. In fact I think there would be some serious side benefits to not being well-funded - for one the fear that every EFTPOS transaction might be your last would certainly provide some more fundamental motivation to get stuff done faster.

Here's a top 5 list of why it's harder than you think.

1. You only know where you're going when you get there

Things change so much that you can only really ever have a general idea of where you might end up. Sure it's exciting - trying to keep people rolling with it is not that easier. How Columbus did it I have no idea.

2. You need to know everything

You might be able to delegate stuff to experts but really it all falls on you - especially if your business is about delivering roughly the same stuff in a different way, you HAVE to know if the different way is going to work. For someone who doesn't do a lot of detail, this means a lot of learning

3. No-one from the normal world gets it

People want to know why you're working insane hours, are always pre-occupied and telling them 'I'm coming up with a new business model that customers will love' will at best get you a quizzical eyebrow raise

4. Always challenging can turn into self-doubt

Building something new, you have to continually challenge what you're doing before you burn a lot of cash - people in your team who aren't used to this will turn this into self-doubt. Not a good thing.

5. Some days you're just surviving

I'll use an ocean-going analogy again. You get hit with 40 ft waves in your wooden ship sailing to the other side of the world you don't really care if you're still heading in the right direction - you just want to be alive. Sometimes you have do stuff for survival that won't take you in the right direction - not much you can do about it.

There's a heap of good things as well - they're well documented - it's how you get through the tough stuff that determines whether you'll be successful. Everytime I think about those pioneers who set out with literally nothing (Shackleton, Cook, Columbus, Erik the Red) combatting the best that Nature could throw at them, and generally heading in a direction where they didn't know exactly what they would find- sheesh, they did it tough. We've got it easy....