In this early 2005 interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder described Facebook as:
“I mean, I just really want to see everyone focus on college and make a really cool college directory product…there doesn’t necessarily have to be more…”
Zuck was intent on just focusing in colleges. He was ecstatic with his 3 million users.
Then, somewhere along the way, he realized he was sitting on a goldmine. Now? He’s just passed his first BILLION users.
Sometimes, all we need is a fresh look at our business to experience an epiphany.
Pao and I experienced the same thing in STORM around 2 years ago. (at a lesser extent than Zuck, obviously) We were making most of our money off of the monthly retainer we were charging our clients for using our flexible benefits system. It was evergreen. It was paying the bills. We were okay.
Then we that saw our online Flexible Benefits system was enabling a particularly large amount of transactions per annum.
It was time to change our business model. We wanted to do it fast, so we went for broke and raised investor money (for the first time) to allow us to go after our strategy. Hard.
What is the big-league alter ego of you current startup? Is there a Superman your Clark Kent can become?
The greatest enemy of a business owner is complacency. Even at the peak of your company’s powers, you should always ask yourself – how can I do things better? These new tools coming out – how can I use them to power my business? How can this idea be BIGGER?
You need to think about it carefully and plan.
Thinking of doing a bakeshop? Perhaps you can be the first social-media powered bakeshop – where you can tweet people that they HAVE to come over – because a fresh batch of pandesal is about to be taken out of the oven. (can someone please do this – freshly baked pandesal is just heaven)
Are you a database programmer who wants to put up a business? Instead of doing database consulting, perhaps you should look at big data opportunities in different industries and try to look for a real-world problem where data can be a solution. (there a lot – recruitment, cellular data, enrollment data, government, etc…)