Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it. – Edmund Hillary
I was talking to a friend the other day about being able to describe a business model in a single sentence, perhaps a single word, and started throwing out suggestions. I came up with money, momentum and mission. He suggested missing. And this is a good start.
A good reason to start something is because there is a clear route to payback. If you provide a product or service that has strong market demand, if you sell something people want at a profit then you’re going to bring in money and that makes sense. Many good, profitable businesses are ones that you don’t hear about in the papers – they’re the trench diggers, the utility businesses, the construction companies that get on and do the day-to-day work that keeps economies running and people fed and watered. These are the kinds of businesses that Warren Buffett dreams of buying – ones that have a competitive advantage and a long-term market.
The second reason to do something is because you’re on a roll, because you’ve got the timing right, because you have momentum. If you’re in a particular space and the stars are aligned then you can get on and build your business because you have the wind at your back. I wrote about a TED talk in my last post where the speaker decided to teach children how to draw during the pandemic and ended up with 10,000 children joining her first lesson. If you’ve spotted an opportunity and have luck on your side then you should go for it.
The third reason to do something is because you have a mission – a story that drives you and a desire to make things better. We all know people like this – some of them start social enterprises, others cooperatives or non-profits while others create purpose-driven for-profit firms. What matters is your story and how it resonates with others.
The fourth reason is to because you’ve found a gap in the market – because something is missing and you think you can fill that need. You can often only see the gap because you’ve spent a long time in that space and know what the problems are that people face and the kind of solutions that they need.
Those four Ms seem to cover quite a large number of cases.
Can you think of any more?