Build It And They Will Come – NOT

October 14th, 2010 by Rich Christiansen

2 girls 1 cup video

In 1989 I helped make my first $2MM business mistake.  I keep this box on my life-trophy shelf to remind me never to make this mistake again.

So what was it we did?

NetLine Powerline Transmission Box

Rich Christiansen $2MM Channel Lesson

We did what so many eager engineering types do–we built a way cool, exciting,  leading-edge technology (digital power line transmission) and then tried to sell it.

We just knew the customers would buy these by the bucket loads.  We would go to the trade shows and got mobbed, so certainly this was going to be a barn burner. Everyone told us we were so smart and this was the coooooolest technology ever.

NOT! Cool technology does not necessarily mean purchasing customers. In 1990 the company went belly up!

I would rather have purchasing customers and profit than some cool little box sitting on my shelf reminding me not to be stupid again.

Better to sell it first and build it second, than to build it first and then try to sell it.

Today I did a BootStrap Business lecture at an Entrepreneurial Launch Pad event.

I love meeting with eager individuals who are on those tender first steps of venturing out into the brave cold and exciting world of creating a business.   However, there is one thing that makes me want to scream every time I see it and indeed I saw it today.

Make sure someone is going to buy it before you build it.

Its All about the channel!

Build It and they will come…NOT!

Save yourself a couple of million $ and let my box be the reminder. Don’t build your own.

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