It was Aristotle who advanced the notion that anyone who wished to be virtuous could do so by simply acting in the same way as a virtuous person would be expected to act. The Greek philosopher saw virtuosity not as an inborn characteristic but instead as a product of one’s habits, thus leading to the conclusion that virtuosity could be acquired through the sustained imitation of the virtuous.
Despite its ancient origin, the idea espoused by Aristotle remains quite pervasive among today’s entrepreneurs. Of course, the eloquence of the original phrasing has evolved to better suit the modern age in which we live: “Fake it ‘til you make it.”
While there is some truth in the idea that the outward projection of certain qualities ultimately internalizes those qualities, entrepreneurs are often led astray by adhering to this popular aphorism while identifying the priorities of an early-stage endeavor. As a result, companies will often allocate funds with the goal of outwardly projecting success, which is an inefficient use of the limited funds typically available to early-stage startups.
In an effort to project a successful image, far too many entrepreneurs invest in the superficial things — a sharply designed website or a visually striking logo, for example — that are highly unlikely to yield the infusion of capital every business needs to survive and ultimately thrive. Yes, a sharp, well-designed website and a striking logo are necessary components in the process of brand-building, but it is unwise to prioritize anything other than revenue during the earliest stages of an entrepreneurial endeavor.
As we began the development of Render 3D Quick, we adopted a singular focus revolving around the goal of making money, plain and simple. We built a modest, functional website with minimal features and no logo, which allowed us to invest heavily in online marketing campaigns that would drive traffic to the site.
The revenue we generated through these early online marketing campaigns gave us the capital necessary to continually expand the business while making incremental improvements according on our rate of growth. For startups, the failure to prioritize revenue leaves very little margin for error, and any miscalculation often proves impossible to overcome. Without the immediate availability of capital, a promising company might dissolve long before it internalizes the outward projection of success in which it erroneously invested.
As entrepreneurs, we sometimes make things more complicated than necessary. While mistakes represent valuable learning opportunities, failing to prioritize revenue during the early stages of a company’s development is far too costly to be worthwhile. When first starting out, focus only on strategies that generate immediate capital and can then be reinvested in a way that leads to profitability and sustainable growth.