The Idea or the Dream; the chicken and egg of business
There are generally two types of founders who start companies. On one side of the ring you have the entrepreneur and the other side you have the idea man.
The driving force for the entrepreneur is the thought of building or starting a business. To this person, the actual product or service that he will provide is irrelevant, what he wants is to be a part of the American dream.
The idea founder is usually someone who fell upon an idea for a business. Sometimes the ideas just come out of thin air. Other times, the founder is annoyed by a problem and figures out a solution. This type of founder is not necessarily interested in running a company, but he definitely wants to see his creativity be brought to life.
Personally, I am 100% wired as an entrepreneur. As soon as it became viable for me to start a business I began to think about the prospects. I wanted to develop a company from nothing. I have always been a strategic thinker, and having a live, operating company to shape, form and develop was mouth watering.
The problem with being an aspiring entrepreneur is that you are missing a fundamental aspect of starting a business – the idea. Similarly, if you are an idea man, most likely you have not been preparing for the moment to start a business. There are few people out there who are both dreamers and idea men. This is one of the key reasons why you so often see partnerships form at the start-up level.
Getting back to the story of how I started my current company. I was working as a management consultant, dreaming of starting a company, but stuck building PowerPoint slides. After one particularly bad day I decided that I needed to put pressure on myself. I gave myself two weeks to start a company, or I would give the dream up.
The next two weeks were hell. I spent hours and hours at night researching industries, talking to friends, racking my brain and I was getting nowhere. After 10 days I had a list of some ideas that might potentially leave me with a few million if I first won the $100,000,000 jackpot. Essentially, I had nothing.
On my way back from the subway one day I was pushed up against the doors with no room to move when it hit me. The idea was half backed. There were some serious problems that I would need to resolve. It was in an area where I had little experience. Yet, I knew right away it was a winner. That night I told my wife, I called a few potential backers, and within 24 hours I had lined up the money I needed to put my vision into a reality.
Next step: Two weeks to figure out if the idea really had a future.
Lessons: Passion is the most important ingredient to a start-up, much more so then an idea or a dream.
Entry filed under: Start-up.