In the first 100 days of starting IN10T, I have learned more than at any other point in my 20+ year career. Throughout daily conversations with customers and industry leaders, there are common themes related to building a business. I admire other thought leaders who share their ups and downs along the way, so I plan to follow that example.
We have no idea what our company will look like in the future, so sharing our lessons regarding what’s working and where we need to improve, allows us time to receive feedback and reflect on where we are today. Here are some lessons from the first 100 days.
Starting a business is hard
I have heard this a thousand times but living it is a whole new phenomenon; especially when bootstrapping the businesses. There is a big difference between working at a startup and running a business with direct P/L responsibility. Over the last 20 years, I have worked in and around different startups. The experience was invaluable, and it helped to prepare for this step, but receiving a paycheck and having to create value is not the same.
Since 1998, my career has mainly consisted of joining companies that are a start-up in nature and immature in the product acceptance curve. I have been so blessed to work through the productization and commercialization of ideas with amazing mentors and leaders; I can now see how they do much of what is described below. Typically, we hear about the successes/wins, but since there are so many stories of challenges/obstacles I wanted to share some thoughts on this subject.
Recently, I was given the book “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. This is an excellent book for people dealing with a business/industry challenge or is thinking about big ideas. It helped me process and formalize my strategic thinking. Here are my top 10 takeaways from the book:
1. Turn obstacles into launchpads/ how to deal with hardship. (Page 3)
As I read this section, I was reminded that “the harder the idea, the bigger the opportunity!” The book gives concrete examples from John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, and Ulysses Grant to name a few.
Working in a traditional industry, Agriculture, and introducing new solutions I find there are many reasons new ideas are not quickly adopted. When we turn those ideas/obstacles into launchpads, it completely reframes the situation. That is one approach I have taken over the last 18 years.