Build at WeFestival
At its core, WeFestival is an event organization bringing women entrepreneurs together to connect and be heard — to learn, support and inspire each other. With our launch of “WeFestival 2.0” this year, we committed to expanding our footprint and making our events available to women around the world — Los Angeles in November 2016, Berlin in June 2017. We are also launching a new series called WeCocktails, with details coming soon.
In addition to our events, we are creating more content, information and support online. This includes a new website (launching in July) where we will be constantly adding new resources, a new podcast (“She Said, She Said” launching in the Fall), more Slack-Offs and more robust articles on Medium – written by us and other contributors. With so much content already out there for entrepreneurs, we have decided to create Monthly Themes to provide context to all our content. Our first theme is Build – a perfect way to kick this off.
Build, as a verb, is typically used to describe putting together many parts over a period of time. What I have learned from investing in companies over the past decade and being involved in building companies all of my career is that no matter what you are building – a business, a strategy, a team, a house – the pain points and the process are pretty consistent. In thinking about this topic and the best way to tee-up this theme, what keeps coming back to me is ‘building a building.’ Having done this many times, I believe it’s the perfect example of concept to completion. Although, if you’ve built anything…. you’ll know that nothing is ever truly complete.
You start with a piece of property. You have a vision. You seek out an architect to help take that vision rattling around in your head into something concrete. The architect starts drawing. You have meetings upon meetings until you believe the concept is ready to be filed for a permit to build. What is filed is more big picture than it is nuts and bolts. (The Strategy)
The next step is nuts and bolts – the figuring out of all the details. (Tactical Strategy.) Those details include everything from materials to windows to ceiling heights to shade pockets to where the light switch sits. Multiple conversations about each detail continue, before drawing up CAD drawings to get a contractor to bid on it. When those prices come back, there are more conversations to figure out what can be cut to still ensure the vision is realized. The devil is always in the details.
You pick a contractor and begin to build. (Tactical Execution.) The first thing that goes down is the foundation. Once that foundation is laid you can begin to build on top of that. Up go the walls but perhaps it isn’t exactly what you thought it would look like. So you move a wall or two before signing off on that floor. That costs you some extra money, a change-order, but you decide it is worth it. Once the walls are up, you begin to paint the walls, bring in the appliances, make sure the internals are working (HVAC, electrics, plumbing, etc) and bring in the furniture.
It is starting to really take shape, to feel complete. But is it really? Down the line you might find that the bathroom or perhaps the couch isn’t really what you wanted — so eventually you redo a room or two over time. There will plenty of mistakes (even if you’ve already done it before), but that is part and parcel of a build – it never is a straight line. There are always twists and turns – and even backtracks.
Whether building a product, service, team, business or design strategy – there are always moving parts, many milestones and many set-backs. Knowing that things don’t always work out at first try, that changes are inevitable, is part of the Build process. And accepting this will be key to keeping your sanity. Nothing is ever perfect. You will always be adjusting – even after it’s built. The question to ask yourself when you think you’re done is “Is it good enough to launch.” While you may see the flaws and how it could be better, the answer is almost always yes. Because no matter what aspect of your business you are building, your overriding build, your primary focus is building your business and moving it forward. And the only way to do that is to continually build, launch and learn.
I love to build. From building companies I invest in to building WeFestival and its community to building a cake. For me, it’s all the same… exciting and rewarding. We hope you will enjoy this series on Building. Stay tuned for more themes every month