Ash Maurya is one of my favorite business writers. He recently visited Grand Rapids and gave a talk related to his new book, Scaling Lean. It’s a follow up to his first book, Running Lean. If you run a business – or are thinking of starting a business – you should check out both books.
Ash’s talk inspired me to think about startup businesses again – it had been a long time since I thought seriously about what kind of business I would build if in fact I set out to build a business. Ash is so straightforward in his thinking, writing, and speaking that he makes it seem possible to build something great.
Ash reminded me that the first step is choosing a “who” – as in, who is my customer? For example, one industry that’s intriguing to me is hospitality. I’m a fairly picky consumer of hotel rooms, so I always notice opportunities in hotels. It would be fun and interesting to talk with small hotel owners and see what new software they’d be willing to pay for. Another interesting customer set is small manufacturing. Grand Rapids is home to lots of small manufacturers, and I’m sure there’s opportunity there. The first step is simply to talk with them.
After thinking about it a bit, I quickly came to the realization that now isn’t the right time for me to pursue these types of businesses … it takes a lot of effort, and I simply have other priorities. If you have the time and energy to pursue a startup seriously, study Ash’s approach. For me, I need something even smaller in scope. Tomorrow, I’ll describe what that is.
I saw a TED talk that said the number one question is timing. The who may not become available until some conditions open up. In particular the second guy to the market is usually the biggest winner
That’s timing for the success of the business … I’m more concerned about timing for my life. I’m not willing to give a startup the focus it needs because I’d rather give that focus to Paula and Gus.
… but yes, I’ve heard that too – the most interesting one to watch right now in this regard is Tesla – they’re “first” … will they be the big winner 20 years from now or will it be the second guy?