I meet with a number of entrepreneurs who struggle with the uncertainty that’s natural in any new business. In their anxiety to land their business, they sometimes sacrifice a better future trajectory by committing to early to a certain path. Wandering in business, especially in the early days is important. Many great businesses sort of wandered into their situation. Google is no exception with their advertising business. The lesson is, don’t set up camp at an oasis when the promise land might be just beyond the horizon. But you have to be willing to be a bit patient.
Unless you know exactly what you are doing (perhaps you’ve built a similar business before), take your time in making sure you understand your market, what’s unique about your approach, where the competition is going, what sorts of macro-trends are driving your opportunity and how you can reach your market effectively.
Every business, over time, develops a sort of DNA. This DNA, once set, is very hard to change. So make your decisions on where and how to play wisely. Seek expert assistance during this phase if you can. Experience has a lot to do with eliminating the wrong choices. Realize also that decisions made early have more weight on your success or failure. Even small mistakes, made too early, can kill a venture. Over time, if you survive, you will build up the strength and defenses to mitigate the impact of a mistake to the organization, but early, there is little room for error.
So, the point of all of this is that choices made early are very important, and in your rush to get a business off the ground, make sure the cement of you business DNA does not dry too quickly, because speed and scale of where you will ultimately go is largely dependent upon the fundamental characteristics of the space you choose to operate in, the timing, your approach to the market, etc. etc. All things that can be considered the genetics of your business and having very little to do with how well you execute.
In the end, serendipity and following the money trail will have a lot to do with landing your business, but just be aware that once you lock and load and begin down a path, it’s very difficult to change that path without significant cost and loss of time. Cherish the time you have to experiment and wander and hopefully you will avoid the mirages.