The myth of overnight startup success

As we have talked about the importance of the idea and the even bigger significance of the execution of this idea, we managed to reach to a conclusion where the actual concept comes on a second place when the obstacles of the execution start to take over. In other words, even the best idea loses its value if it can’t be successfully executed.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” -Steve Jobs

The idea

All problems require breakthrough solutions and we all know that nothing is as simple as it sounds. Existing problems change overtime. In order to create the best solution for a problem, entrepreneurs must look at the future of the problem, to follow its development and to create three times faster than the problem actually changes overtime. The best ideas appear as Eureka! but need to be shaped up and elaborated as a solution for a growing problem and this does not happen overnight.

The innovation

In order to innovate, entrepreneurs must find the solution of existing problems and turn them into successful businesses by implying hard work, undisputed vision and capacity to predict the future. Overnight success is not just a myth; it is a badly told story which always has unsatisfying ending. The history remembers some cases of overnight success which led to very small changes and didn’t meet the requirements of actually becoming an innovation because of the lack of long term value. You don’t want a success as long as the life of a fly, do you? Probably not!

The funding

As a startup owner you are more likely to rely on venture capitalists and angel investors to get funding for your business. How do you actually expect to get funded if you reach out to the investors with a raw idea? Funding doesn’t magically appear overnight. Years may pass until you have something ready to be presented to investors and even more months may pass until you actually receive funding. By this time, the best thing you can do is to keep working and improving. If you manage to survive the first two-three years of your startup venture without giving up, you are more likely to succeed with your business.

The success

Success has different definitions according to the different people. A business can be considered as a successful when it reaches certain milestones – when it goes public, when it wins funding, when it reaches specific amount of users. The biggest success comes when the entrepreneurs feel satisfied with their work and this almost never happens overnight. The complete satisfaction of a long years work can come when the business becomes stable and still has the potential to grow. This is the result of long years of hard work and it is a combination of factors – hard work, knowledge, talent, even luck.

The confusion

Many entrepreneurs enter the startup scene expecting big results, immediate success and fortune. A whole generation of entrepreneurs is set to failure, especially the millennials, who more often leave their education and experience opportunities behind to become the next Gates or Zuckerberg, confused by the myth of overnight success. We tend to see the last result, but the truth is that the hard work, backed up by strong knowledge and vision, always stays unsighted.

The examples

Amazon made its first profit nine years after it was founded and seven years after it was funded. Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone worked on different projects eight years before founding Twitter. The work on Gmail continued for almost three years before the platform was ready to be launched and many people were still in doubt of its success. This is just a small number of examples but definitely proves a point.

The strongest weapon an entrepreneur may have is patience. Be persistent in your actions and overleap your achievements from the previous day and you will be more successful in your startup venture. Get ready to work hard and long before actually a breakthrough comes along your way.

─ January 2, 2015