This year I was fortunate enough to read “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek and I have to say it was one of the most impactful books that I have ever read. Many of you have heard me talk about “The Lean Startup” by Eric Reiss which I still believe to be a great book. However, I always felt as if something was missing.
It was the “Why”. Lean Startup is a great “How” book but it lacks the “Why”. Simply put the “Why” is what is behind every great cause or company. America’s “why” is freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Steve Jobs “why” was to think differently and challenge the status.
My “why” is “Be great and help others be great”.
A little about me as it relates to my “why” and LaunchhNJ’s founding:
I remember two things inspiring me to join the Army in 1989. The first was I wanted to show America appreciation for being great to my family. My parents came with $50 in their pocket and through hard work managed to provide my sister and I with a very comfortable upbringing. The second was the Army’s slogan of “Be All You Can Be”. The words spoke to me and I think this was the start of my “why”.
After reading Jim Collins’ bestselling “Good to Great” my entrepreneurial juices were reignited. A few years later I left a very good job to start a real estate investing company. While I did well for several years I could not overcome the market crash of 2008. This was when I started to realize all the mistakes I had made (ex. no buy sell agreement, poor contracts, poor accounting). Looking back choosing to close my business was one of the toughest but best decisions I ever made.
After trying a dot com and failing again I decided to return to the financial services industry. I naturally gravitated toward working with entrepreneurs and this is when I discovered that many seemingly successful entrepreneurs were making the same mistakes I had made. While attempting to help my clients with social media I came across the tech startup community and as they say… the rest is history.
The “Why” of LaunchNJ:
LaunchNJ “why” is about giving people the tools to achieve their “whys”. After speaking with hundreds of members and many successful entrepreneurs I can comfortably say that for the large majority, money is not their biggest driver. I know it isn’t mine. Money is a byproduct of successfully executing on your “why”.
Many people complain that they have a hard time finding a cofounder or team members for their startup. I assure you that if you understand your “why” and can communicate it effectively it will become easier to attract others (early adapters).
Being an entrepreneur is not easy and every successful entrepreneur will tell you that they made many mistakes when they first started. Combining your “why” with “Lean Startup Methodology” will give you two powerful tools to start with.
LaunchNJ’s hope is that by providing networking and educational opportunities we can decrease members’ learning curves. Also, since time and money are limited we feel that having the resources locally will lengthen member’s runways which will help increase the chances of success.