On Friday, I was talking to a friend about a new business she’s thinking of starting. She reached out to another friend of hers to ask for advice. Though she has a lot of passion for the idea, she wasn’t sure how to monetize it. Her friend, a very successful entrepreneur in the financial services space, said, “Don’t worry about monetization right now. Just build what you want to build.”
That might sound like odd advice, especially from someone who works in finance. Aren’t we taught that to build a business we must think about bootstrapping or raising capital and an exit strategy? Doesn’t it all start with how to get money in and then how to get your money back out? This is where a lot of ventures fall down – they worry so much about the money at the start that they lose sight of why they’re building a business in the first place. It starts with passion and heart.
At the beginning of a business idea, you’re experimenting and testing. You’re trying to figure out what you can do and who you can help. To do that, you build the smallest possible piece that you can with as little money as possible for a very small number of people. Go ahead and dream big, but build small. You don’t need to save the whole planet in the next hour. All you need to do is make one thing better for one person. That’s the seed. Start there and see where the path leads. Stay curious. Stay hungry. Stay alert. Pay attention. Listen. Try, fail, and try again. Right now, that’s the only work you have to do.