The most interesting ideas sometimes arise from the most unlikely places. This time, I stumbled across a great underlying reason to start a company.
First, a little back-story.
When I wrote about career choices recently, an astute reader pointed out that my definition of marketing (convincing you of something you don't know you need) is a bit jaded. It's based on being the recipient of marketing, not actually doing any marketing.
He mentioned how there is a higher view of his field. Marketing is more of a "process of understanding pain points and providing remedies by delivering real value" he wrote in an e-mail. Later, we both realized that is also an amazing definition of entrepreneurship. (The reader works for an Australian company called Arielle; they should be glad to have him.)
What if that is really true? What if starting a company is based on, as the reader mentioned to me, your understanding of a topic, your definition of the terms, and your values? It's a brilliant way to view the purpose of starting a company, and here's why.
The proper definition of the word "value" is quite interesting. It's one of those words that reverberates and can guide your thinking. It means to hold as important, to see something as having a comparative worth that's higher than something else. It's all about priorities. What you value most you will care about the most.
It applies perfectly. Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult things you will ever do in life. If you don't "value" what you are starting, it probably won't last. If you do care about it, the company probably will last. You will invest your soul in it.
I have a good example of this. Let's say you want to make an app that helps people find missing children. You "value" the idea and you are committed to making it happen. You know what? It will. When you care about something--when you view it as important--you will do everything you can to see that the company becomes a real thing. You will work nights. You will tell everyone you know about it. You will find the money somehow.
Just as important, and maybe even more important, is that everyone will know the value. The word "value" tends to follow you around like a face tattoo. Everyone can see it.
Think about the opposite of this scenario. Let's say you decide to start a company that lets people store Bitcoins in an app. You've heard all about the blockchain craze and you want to capitalize on the burgeoning alternative payments market. OK. But do you really care about Bitcoin? Do you have a vested interest? Do you burn with passion over Bitcoin?
Probably not. If you're like me, you're more interested in drinking coffee at Starbucks than how you actually pay for the stuff. I would never start a financial services company. I can barely finish my taxes on time. When you are starting a company, think about this thought process: Value leads to commitment which leads to passion which results in perseverance. If you think there is any other mechanic at work when starting a company, think again.
So what do you value? What do you hold as important? Is it feeding starving people in India? Is it making a new kind of mapping technology that could help the people in Nepal after the devastating earthquake? Is it something that could help people deal with stress and anxiety, even if that just means creating a competitor to Hulu? Is it a new line of clothing you just have to create because you value how you look and want to build up the self-confidence of others? What is so near to your heart that you have to bring it to life?
Take a close look at what drives you. Determine what you value. Then, head on over to a site like LegalZoom.com and make it happen. Let me know how it all pans out.