Building a startup for exit versus revenue

The scale touched 158 pounds 3 years ago this May when I
decided I had to do something about it. I had 3 major excuses for my weight –
a) I had not time since we had our 2nd child since I had to either pick him up
early or drop him off late b) there was no incentive to lose weight any more
and c) I was eating healthy (vegetarian) anyway, so how is a little extra
weight going to matter?

Self motivation was not going to work, so I took a leaf from my CEO’s book
(Amnon Landan at Mercury) who, had lost close to 30 pounds in 3 months and
decided I had to set a goal – to weigh 145 pounds in 3 months. I started with a
15 min run and finally after 3 months ended up running 6 miles daily for about
38 min. My weight stood at 142 pounds after the 3 months. Having achieved that
felt awesome. I had heard enough from others about how much easier it was to
maintain that weight versus losing more weight so I let things slip. 6 months
later, back at 154 pounds. 

Its obvious that you can’t stop exercising if you want to be
fit. There’s no finish. No end to the “project”.  For people like me, who like to finish things
(get them done) and move on to the next thing, the very concept of ongoing
exercising “to be fit” is weird.

So how does this relate to building a business for revenue versus a company for
an exit?

I read Paul’s article a few days ago. I had to spend more
time to think about how I really felt about his point of view. Summary is that
he proposes you build companies to get a sale (of the company) than to build a
business (i.e. profitable, sustainable entity). 

Having built and sold companies before, it had not occurred
to me to consider one versus the other. I started out with most ideas and
companies with the motivation to build a business. That they got sold was a
combination of luck and time.

Here’s the thing – there’s no finish if you want to build a
business. You can’t go “do the next thing” or “be ready for the next
challenge”. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. For most “businessmen”
their company is their lifestyle, work, passion and source of distraction. Notice
I did not say money. I know enough people who have built a company and grown it
well but they know is a daily grind and they love it. 

At the same time I know entrepreneurs who have built
companies and sold them, changed their careers, their industry and are
delighted. 

My experience tells me build the company for revenue, profit
if you enjoy doing it. I.e. you like the industry, the people and the line of
work. If you are just looking to make money and go “do something else which is
your real passion” then build your company to be sold. I am very sympathetic to
people who are doing “one thing” but have their passion elsewhere, since I know
that not everyone can really do what they are passionate about. Real world
constraints and responsibilities are that – real.

There’s nothing wrong with either approach, but if you don’t
like to exercise everyday to keep fit, you won’t like to build a business.

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