Setting up a business feels like cooking. There are a hundred things that need to happen; the mushrooms need to be chopped and a marketing plan needs to be written. Let the beef simmer in the pot for an hour while the product idea simmers in the back of my mind.
Cooking a dish isn’t that hard. You follow the recipe’s instructions (either from a book or in your head) and at the end of it, you’ll have something edible. Similarly, taking a single step towards a functioning corporation isn’t too difficult; read up customer interviews and go out and gather the required information.
Cooking a dinner however is a whole lot more difficult. When you’re trying to make 5 things, you need to think about the space on the stove and in the oven, whether you have enough bowls to keep chopped stuff in and most importantly, what to do when so that it’s all finished at the same time.
Start off by chopping the mushrooms and broccoli, but not the apples (they’ll be brown by the time you serve them). The lasagna can stay in the oven for 10 minutes longer if need be (or even 30), but the steak can’t stay in the pan for a minute too long. I’ll need the juice from the mushrooms to add to the sauce, so if I start frying them at the same time as I melt the butter, I should have that when I need it…
I’ve been cooking for 16 years now and some 4,000 hot meals later, I feel confident in my skills (which is not to say I don’t screw something up once and awhile…)
Each individual task in the process is quite doable, but when do you do what? Should I build a test product first so I have something to show, or should I talk to people first about what they think is required? Is this the right time to start on marketing or does it make more sense to wait until I have something to sell? Do I write a 20 page business plan or is it sufficient to have a half-pager with a very broad outline? Do I first find the people to found the business with or should I start the company and then find the people that match it?
And it gets worse.
When I’m making a meal I have quite a number of dishes I can choose from that I know have worked in the past; it’s perfectly acceptable to serve a golden oldie. For a business however you have to do at least something new to find any kind of market.
Like cooking, building a business is a skill set. I’m fresh into my second cooking class and I’ve got a lot to learn. The first try might not be particularly palatable and I might have to trash the results. But with some perseverance I’m sure I’ll eventually master this as well.
I’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
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