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Does Every Startup Need to be Super-Successful?

startupsIn the last issue of “This Week in Canadian Startups”, one of the items was a blog post by James Yu on how “startups should think big and act small”.

It’s been a post that I’ve been thinking about because part of the growing fascination with entrepreneurialism is how startups need to become smash-hits. We’re enamoured with startups that suddenly attract millions of loyal users, pull in a whack of venture capital, and then sell for kazillion dollars.

This is not to suggest being super-successful is a bad thing but the reality is you have as good a chance of being hit by lightning as you do having a super-successful startup. In other words, they’re super-cool to write and dream about, but freaks of nature.

For the rest of us, startups fall into two camps. The most likely scenario is failure given eight out of every 10 startups spit the bit due to a bad idea, a failure to execute or having the wrong people.

But what about the other one or two startups that don’t become super-successful or fail?

For many entrepreneurs, being modestly successful is a major achievement because they manage to create a business in which customers agree to pay for a product or willing to spend advertising dollars. These entrepreneurs may never become rich but they do create sustainable businesses that are rewarding professionally and personally.

My take is we don’t focus enough attention on the modestly successful, or give them enough credit. Since they don’t fall into one of the extremes (super successful or a failure), these startups get lost in the mix. In doing that, we overlook the fact they have created a viable businesses that employ a healthy number of people.

When you think about it, maybe we should be celebrating startups that just do okay. Perhaps there should be a spotlight that shines on startups that manage to survive rather than just the ones that thrive or take a dive.

They may not be sexy or newsworthy but it would be wrong to suggest these startups aren’t successful in their own way.

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