In spending the last year REALLY digging into building a startup, I have learned that it is very much like painting a masterpiece.
I said in another post “Art is everything, and everything is art“, and this still holds true to me in many ways.
I’ve painted since I was 5 years old, and the process is usually the same:
- You start out with a vision of what you want.
- Get the tools you need – paint, brushes, canvas, etc.
- Sketch out the vision on paper, and start one brush stroke at a time on canvas, keeping your vision in mind the entire time.
- If you mess up you paint over it and try again, adjust your approach or whip out a new blank canvas and start all over.
- With a little vision, effort, tools, and time you create your very own painting (good or bad).
And with practice you can become really great at it, eventually reaching a master level to be classified with the Old Masters.
So how is it like building a business or startup?
Just look at the steps above and replace them with what it takes to build a business of just about any kind instead:
- You start out with a vision of what you want – Starting a business requires a vision of where you want to be and what problems you want to solve, and the VALUE you want to add to the world.
- Get the ‘tools’ you need – Software, people, team, resources, capital, etc. (While I don’t consider people tools they are an essential in the process).
- Plan it out or not – Sketch out the vision on paper, and start one brush stroke at a time on canvas, keeping your vision in mind the entire time – or don’t and wing it. As a business owner life is your canvas. Every possible moment and day you take action, one metaphorical brushstroke at a time towards the realization of that vision. You can either plan it out or go the abstract route and wing it.
- Be persistent – If you mess up you paint over it and try again, adjust your approach or whip out a new blank canvas and start all over. Sometimes in business, we screw up and have to adjust our course. Sometimes we really screw up and have to start all over with a blank canvas. It happens. I’ve had to do this many times creating art and in businesses. As long as we look at every screw up as a lesson and you’ll be just fine.
- Enjoy the process – With a little vision, effort, tools, and time you create your very own painting (good or bad). In the end, if you combine everything with a little time and patience you can see your vision come to life and build a business that becomes the next Apple, or it can be a dud. Either way, learn to enjoy the process, keep going and you will become a master and create a masterpiece.
Richard Branson said it well:
“There is no point in going into a business unless you can make a radical difference in other people’s lives. To me, it’s like painting a picture: You have to get all the colors right and all the little nuances right to create the perfect picture, or the perfect company. I know that there’s need for Virgin to come in and attack a marketplace, because I know that I’m frustrated by having to experience bad service in that particular marketplace.
So I’ll throw all the paint up and get all the best people in. By the time it sticks on the canvas, we’ll try to start getting some order into it. Every little single detail has to be right.”
So my question to you is what masterpiece are you working on in your life? 🙂