Image by elycefeliz via Flickr
The reasons to start a business are many and varied. In my experience, the CEO's that pitch us have one of three goals; they want to win or they want to make a lot of money or they want to change the world. So which CEO's tend to deliver the greatest returns?
Maybe not who you'd think.
Changing the world is consistently the best way to create value.
People whose aim is to win tend, over time, to reduce the scope of the game to one that is winnable. So rather than ambitions being large or goals getting bigger in impact as it progresses, this CEO's enterprise tends to narrow or shrink. And winning is often benefits a smaller and smaller group of people in this scenario. (Even if that means not winning for the investors) Winning is more important than the people so throwing some over board hardly matters.
A primary aim of making a lot of money introduces a whole gamut of decision influencers. Most of those influencers promote short cuts and borderline decisions. Yes, making money is the central point of an enterprise in a capitalist system. But trying to do so without creating value is akin to running a scheme.
People who seek to change the world create the greatest value. Value for themselves, employees, customer and investors. It is isn't about limiting the scope to "win" or taking short cuts to a great payday. It is about changing the world -- which is the biggest scope and doesn't support any short cuts. And changing the world requires a big idea that is well executed whereas winning or making a ton of money don't always require those in practice.
So you might ask, what about VC's? Do they want to make a ton of money, win or change the world?
Yes. Yes, they do.