Entrepreneurs often refer to their business as their ‘baby.” An entity fed unlimited love, hard work and support from its first steps to beyond.
And while it is true building, growing and maintaining a business takes time and great care, the baby analogy is only half right and holds entrepreneurs back from measures needed to make the business grow.
Kill the baby.
The ‘baby’ is a business built of passion with the purpose of producing profit. It is that simple. Sure there are other things gained along the way – career fulfillment, helping others, stationery with your name on it – however entrepreneurs need to understand that the business needs to make money. Otherwise, it’s a hobby.
There are things business owners need to do to their business that they would never dream of doing to a baby. Like…
Strip it Down
Entrepreneurs must subject their business to exposure. Strip it down to its barest core and expose it to the cold eyes of those who understand what the good bones of profit look like.
A good business mentor will take a solid swing at a business model, vision, goals and research with a mental baseball bat. If they can bust it open like a piñata then it’s back to the drawing board for the entrepreneur.
The same goes for investors. They will take sharp sticks and peel back the skin of a business looking for signs of weakness. They’ll run the numbers and hold both you and the business’ feet over an open flame. It’ll be hot, uncomfortable and important for growth.
Throw it in the Deep End
Under no circumstances should anyone ever throw an infant into the deep end of a pool to see if it will survive. Under no circumstances should an entrepreneur NOT throw their business into the deep end to see if it will survive.
The difference? Businesses can be resurrected from the dead and the only way to vet killer products and services is to test them in the wild.
Moxie Case Study: App Sumo is a funny little company. Their blog is full of profanity and they are borderline offensive, but the case study on how they started their business is ‘toss-in-pool’ perfect.
When the founder Noah Kagan (a guy, but welcome on the Moxie train nevertheless) had the idea with App Sumo, a Groupon-type entity for tech people interested in tech products, he didn’t build a business model, secure an LLC, etc. He built a cheap “barely working version” of App Sumo for $60. He then bought an ad on Reddit where tech folks hang out and advertised one test deal.
That one deal was wildly successful proving the product did work.
Businesses at any stage must be able to withstand stringent tests as they move to new phases, roll out different product or look to add growth. Those tests are painful, necessary, and completely contradictory to the protective instincts one has with a ‘baby.’
Business owners who treat their businesses like children risk smothering the business with micromanagement and overprotection. Then ironically, they cruelly or naively throw that same business into the marketplace – where it is eaten alive by competitors who are fitter and stronger or it dies from customer neglect.
Love your business? Kill the baby – strip it down, poke holes and get it market wet. A leaner, stronger, more agile business will take its place.
Copyright 2012 The Catalyst Marketing Group
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