Typically, we don't do movie reviews (we leave that up to you), but given the crazy buzz surrounding The Social Network (not to mention the AMAZING performances by Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake), we thought we'd take a moment out of our daily runsheet of beauty, brains, and college students behaving badly to sum up three reasons why you should make it a point to check it out if you're considering starting your own business.
1. One Little Idea Can Lead to Big Things
While various people have competing stories as to how Facebook was formed, it's clear that like most things in life, something great came out of an idea spawned by a need that wasn't being filled. One of the most troubling lines of the whole movie is when the president of Harvard takes a meeting with two of the characters to discuss the fact that their idea was "stolen" and that stealing violates the Harvard Student Handbook. Annoyed, the president tells them that students are always trying to create new jobs for themselves so they don't have work at real jobs. Wrong — students follow their passions instead of settling for a crappy entry level gig because they aspire to do what they love instead of just getting by. There's nothing wrong with that-just be smart AND realistic. You may have a great idea, but it's important to do your research first before you try to launch something that's new and totally revolutionary. After all, if somebody already thought of it you could find yourself in court like a "certain" Facebook founder…
2. Friends and Business Don't Mix
Facebook started with two best friends and ended with one owning controlling interest in the company and the other sueing for his fair share. This is NOT a way to run a business. Perhaps you need to think long and hard about what that means. Can your friendship survive the process of launching something new, getting funding, AND taking it to the next level? If you're worried about what could happen, put everything in writing upfront. Drawing up a legal contract not only protects each of your interests, it also ensures you're both on the same page and understand what will happen down the road if your business takes off. It might feel awkward, but the benefits totally outweigh the drawbacks.
3. Take Time to Define Your Goals
Do you want to make something cool for your friends, earn mega cash, get famous, or all of the above? The problem with Facebook was that this concept (according to the movie, at least) was never clearly defined before everyone jumped onboard. If you can't straight up demonstrate what your long-term goals are, (in most cases) you're doomed to fail. This is why developing a business plan is so important. By specifying what you hope to accomplishment, the market research behind it, and how your product and concept can make an impact, you prove you're a serious contender and realistic about starting your own business. This kind of thinking attracts investor and advertising types and COULD lead to a major deal somewhere down the road.