DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A STARTUP — OR A SMALL BUSINESS?

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A couple months ago, I officially left my rapidly growing, profitable small business to launch a tech startup with a huge vision and zero salaries. Why did I do this? For me, it came down to the huge differences between a small business and a startup.

First off, the biggest difference between these two company types is in their top objectives. Small businesses are driven by profitability and stable long-term value, while startups are focused on top-end revenue and growth potential. Steve Blank’s three-minute definition provides great insight.

Earlier this year, I also got the opportunity to meet Mark Cuban, Kevin Plank, and Scott Case, who asked me a classic question with a special motive: “What do you want out of your life in five years?” I knew how Cuban and Plank had made eight-figure companies in their twenties, so I said, “Thirty million dollars,” thinking it would impress them. Instead, Plank said, “That’s a terrible goal!”

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