It’s All About Execution…
Startups are born out of ideas, and ideas are usually born out of problems. Although the story varies with each company, the way that startups usually begin is that someone recognizes a problem that a massive audience has, and comes up with an innovative way to solve this problem, that no one has ever seen before. The founder, and his or her team, then develop a platform based around this solution, and offer features to lure in new users, while at the same time seeking funding from investors and convincing them that the platform can scale at a certain rate that would provide a great opportunity for them to profit. Of course, this requires one big idea, but a startup necessitates that ideas are constantly being created, for various reasons: one, to make sure that the company stays ahead of the competition, two, to make sure that users are constantly drawn to the company and their particular product, service, or platform, and three, to ensure that investors are satisfied and feel as though the company is taking every opportunity to monetize their efforts and maximize their profit.
However, Silicon Valley isn’t always a fairy tale – and every startup isn’t the next “Uber”. There are millions of people out there with extensive business and technology backgrounds that have incredible ideas, that they find simply don’t translate. It could be that the startup solved an important problem, but has been stuck in development stage too long for the idea to be that relevant any more. Of course, there is the possibility that someone else has a similar idea to solve the same problem, and, even worse, a superior and more well-developed area. It could be that investors see some value in your idea, but don’t believe specifically in your team or have difficulty believing that the company will appeal to a broad enough market. There may even be the rare occasions where the investor actually would invest in the idea if they understood it fully, but something gets lost in the translation and communication of the idea, whether it is the technical jargon or the wrong personalities attempting to connect. There is even the possibility that the idea is incredible, has value, and could appeal to millions of people, but is too close to another idea, that is already established, or would interfere with another patent or vision, resulting in all sorts of legal fees and royalty issues.
An Idea is a Birth of Something Great.
As you can see, while having an idea can certainly be the birth of something great – it is the beginning of a very long and arduous process. It may surprise you to know that in some cases, success didn’t occur with someone’s first idea. A perfect example is Apoorva Mehta.
Apoorva Mehta has always had passion, and believed that he could create a successful company. In fact, in hindsight, one might be able to say that he was a little too confident. Specifically, Apoorva Mehta founded twenty companies within a two-year period because of how many ideas he had. In fact, it’s not as if the ideas were mediocre ones. He was able to get substantial funding for many of these ideas, and from of some of Silicon Valley’s elite, that any fledgling company would absolutely kill to be associated with, or even be in the same room with. He had worked as an engineer at Amazon, one of the largest companies in the world, so it was no question that he had a certain set of skills to succeed.
Apoorva Mehta, by all metrics, was failing. This is important to realize for those that are great at constantly coming up with ideas. It should be noted that many great ideas have come and gone, without any sort of execution. Alas, that is not even the worst part! There are ideas that have gotten funding, and been executed – that THEN failed! It certainly is a tough road for an entrepreneur, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. And now take someone like Mr. Mehta, who could easily rely on his skills to earn a comfortable salary – but instead is creating ideas constantly to the point where he is founding companies more often than most people take vacations! Clearly, something wasn’t working, though – because despite funding, and despite the innovative way that he was able to come up with solutions to problems – the ideas weren’t taking. An idea is only as useful as it is adopted, and the bottom line was, despite his ideas, Mr. Mehta had a big problem.
It’s easy to see now what the problem was – Mr. Mehta was focusing on the wrong problem. He soon learned, after time, energy, and money had been spent, that there was a big problem in terms of convenience when it came to grocery shopping. What if there was a safe and affordable way for customers to get same-day grocery delivery service, through a personal shopper, that could note each customer’s specific needs, from dietary restrictions to brand preferences? He then headed down the same road, developing his “big idea”, and began using the little cash that he had to hire delivery workers to get this idea off of the ground. After twenty opportunities, and realizing that he had missed out on a lot of salary money, and that he wasn’t making investors the money that he thought he would – he had considered giving up.
It’s a good thing he didn’t, because it turns out that his new company idea – Instacart – was actually, finally, the right idea. He began to realize this when it was very clear that the web application was spreading through word-of-mouth much faster than he anticipated. Of course, every startup has its setbacks, whether it is delivery workers stealing money from Mr. Mehta, or the wrong orders being delivered – but he had finally realized that he had the one idea that could be executed to perfection. This translated to users, which translated to funding, and now, you may be surprised to learn that there probably was a point where Apoorva Mehta was depressed, and doubted that he could ever be the head of a million-dollar company, because he had failed so many times – Instacart is valued at over three BILLION dollars, just six years after its launch.
- Ideas can bring investing – but it doesn’t mean that the idea is executed properly. It could just mean that a lot of money is spent on an idea that doesn’t translate.
- Not every idea is THE idea – you may have to fail several times to find the right successful idea.
- Make sure that your idea is unique enough, and if it isn’t unique, make sure that it is superior to competitors.