Too much of the startup world focuses on the mechanics of starting a business.Whilst it’s good to move fast and stay lean, it’s time we made our businesses more human and in the process gave them a better chance of survival.
If you run a business you’ll often be asked:
What’s your exit strategy?
I’ve always found this to be a strange question, probably because I didn’t set out in business with the aim of selling it for a handsome dime. I wanted to take control of my life, do things my way and ultimately build a business in my image. The thought of creating something you’re proud of, only then to hand it over when a good offer comes in doesn’t sit well with me. Likewise chasing investors early on and giving away equity before you’ve found any passionate customers.
“When you take money from investors their business model becomes yours.” – Steve Blank
Startup founders should be creating companies so that they can live according to their own rules, not someone else’s – especially investors or shareholders.
Whilst there will always be entrepreneurs that set out with the aim of a $10bn IPO, there is a growing movement of people that are starting out in business for reasons other than money. These people want to build companies they’re proud of. Companies that have their own personal values and purpose as part of their DNA. Meaningful companies.
Will McInnes, founder of social business consultancy Nixon McInnes (and fellow Brightonian), has an interesting take on it: