Building a Business rather than a Product

Building a business rather than a product. That was my recent status update in my LinkedIn profile and surprisingly it has evoked lots interest and  responses from my friends and colleagues. Some just wanted to know what I am trying to build while others question my ‘lack of understanding of the meaning of entrepreneurship’ in saying so. For one, they assume, I am an entrepreneur, by their own definition.  Another close friend admonished saying that I need to open up a little.

May be I don’t understand the usual meaning of entrepreneurship, but as I understand one must be a business man first before even thinking about starting a venture. To me, the word, entrepreneur is too fuzzy and often doesn’t mean too different from a business man. After all, there is no entrepreneur without a business. Of course barring academic differences aside.

As my friends explain to me that entrepreneurs must create new products or solutions. I think the kid next door that opens up a lemon stand or pan shop is an entrepreneur. For me, business comes first before the product or the solution you are offering. It could be the same pan that is sold everywhere in India or the same lemonade that is available throughout the world, setting up a stand and selling to a target market is essentially everything about business and entrepreneurship to me.

Just searching for those key words end up in so many search results and articles explaining the differences, but as I understand the essence is that they are same. One is just a fancier manifestation of the other. And my understanding is that your business is not just one product that you spend your entire life building it. Its lot more beyond a single product. So I said, it is critical to build a business rather than a product and i am trying to.

That comes in quite a contrast to so many that are building a product first and leaving how to make a business case to the moment they need funding or figuring out an exit strategy. I don’t think that is how we must learn about entrepreneurship. We better start with a pan dabba or a lemonade stand rather than creating new web2.0 application without a business case.

So, wanna build a business? or a product?

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