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Oftentimes, when we look in from the outside at highly successful startups, we get the impression that their success was almost overnight.  We assume that the founders of these business success stories had sudden insights regarding a critical customer need.  Then we conclude that these entrepreneurs owe their rapid success to making grand and bold decisions, taking significant risks and making big moves in their market niche.  In most cases, these are false perceptions.  In this article, I intend to explore some of the myths and realities of how companies go from being startups to becoming large and successful businesses.

Successful Startups

Exploring the Myths and Realities Behind Successful Startups


Myth #1: Most successful startups owe their success to seeing a critical customer problem and correctly surmising an elegant way to solve it.

Reality: The key to success in business is truly understanding your customers’ needs.  The last thing you want to do is to start a business based on superficial observations and analysis.  In addition, it is foolhardy to assume that you’ve got a winning product or service based on just your personal experience.  Most of us are unaware that we have biases and belief systems that are often very different from other groups of people.  What you might think as an affordable product or service might be considered totally out of reach financially by the majority of people.   A product that you believe is easy to use could be perceived by the majority of potential customers as difficult and confusing.

In summary, it’s OK to make assumptions.  However, it is insane to not test out your assumptions regarding your new product or service by getting customer feedback.  Unfortunately, many startups avoid getting customer feedback because they are afraid to disclose proprietary information.  This is usually a big mistake.  That’s why there are non-disclosure agreements.   You can download a sample of a non-disclosure agreement by going to  The bottom line is that there is no substitute for verifying that you’ve discovered a critical and unfilled need.  In addition, getting customer feedback using a focus group or one-on-one conversations is critical for determining that you’ve developed a product or service that will be well accepted by the majority of people you are targeting.

Myth #2: Many startups are overnight success stories

Reality: Overnight success makes for a great story.  However, what you’ll find when you really start digging into the background of these startups is that their road to success was paved by many years of preparation.  Being immersed in a particular industry gives you the advantage of understanding its’ nuances.  You understand the jargon, and you can easily communicate with your customers.   Working in an industry also gives you exposure to problems that generate ideas for new inventions.

For many business owners, much of their success can be attributed to their extensive industry connections.  These relationships are not obtained overnight.  It’s hard-earned through hundreds, if not thousands, of interactions with people in their line of business.  The strength of these connections is dependent on their dependability, their resourcefulness and their willingness to deliver more than what was expected of them.  This takes time!

In summary, it might appear that a startup was an overnight success.  However, what most people don’t realize is the long hours and time that it took the founders to gain their knowledge, skills, experience and connections.  In most cases, this took years to achieve.   This doesn’t mean that you should give up hope of creating a successful business.   Instead, it cautions you to not expect it overnight.  Always remember that it will take time.  Enjoy the journey and making lots of personal connections.  If you’re patient and if you keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities, eventually a great idea for a successful business will come your way.

Myth #3: Successful startups owe most of their success to making big and bold moves

Reality: In most cases, business success is incremental.  It is extremely rare for a first version of a product or service to be right on the money in providing the best solution to one of your customers’ problems.  In reality, most successful products have undergone numerous refinements after they’ve been tested in focus groups or beta tested by potential customers.  It’s usually a constant cycle of customer feedback, refinement and testing, and getting customer feedback again.  If you are truly focused on making the absolute best product or service to solve a particular need, this feedback loop never ends.  As a result, don’t expect to get the features and design of your product or service totally right on your first time out the door.  If, however, you are willing to get customer feedback, make corrections, and get customer feedback again, you’ll have a good chance of creating a winning product or service.

If you are seriously contemplating starting your own business, I would recommend that you check out   This web site simplifies and condenses the important things you need to achieve business success.  It also serves as a portal to a number of affiliated listing sites that enable you to obtain the business funding, human resources, materials and marketing tools that will be required to make your dreams a reality. So are you ready to make your dreams come true?  Is it time to stop wishing and start planning your new future?  If so, you owe it to yourself to visit

Written by: Mark J. Krupp, Confounder of



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