Don’t let ideas wither away and die – adapt and modify to rise from the ashes


Every business goes through ups and downs – it is the normal progression of organizations as it is of life. Sometimes the problems you encounter are manageable, sometimes they become so big and difficult to handle that the business owners feel like giving up and going and doing something else.

Not all new companies achieve overnight success – they take time, perseverance and a lot of tremendously hard work to reach their goals. There are a few who are successful in a surprisingly short span of time and they are the ones that catch the world’s interest. As a result many new, young entrepreneurs think that what they start will also be just as successful.

Do not see the hardships and setbacks

But even with these successful companies, from the outside we do not see the hardships and setbacks they have gone through in order to get to where they are now. If every entrepreneur had lost heart and quit the business the world would have lost many of the well-known companies that are at the pinnacle of success today. Let’s look at some of these companies that had almost given up the ghost at one point of time.

The Apple story

Apple, after reaching the heights of triumph with its distinctive and innovative products under the stewardship of Steve Jobs, went into a 12-year slump after Job left the company in 1885. It made massive losses and almost went into bankruptcy when Jobs was re-recruited in 1997. The company went into top gear with its re-branding strategy, its new iMac and managing consumer expectations. Its decline was arrested and it went on to become the highly successful company it is today.

The Fedex story

Fedex is one of the biggest logistics company in the world today, but it also went through a period of utter desperation. Starting out in 1971, doing moderately well, it crashed after a few years due to increasing fuel prices and impossible logistics problems. Its funds dropped to an unimaginable $ 5000 and then with a different positioning and other measures, it came out of the woods and became the humongous company it is today.

The Airbnb story

Airbnb, the answer to every traveler who wants to stay in safe, clean, reliable, comfortable and inexpensive accommodation during travel, is a multi-billion dollar company spread all over the world. It started in 2008 and found it next to impossible to raise capital to begin its operations. Big investors looked the other way and it had to depend on other avenues (e.g. making custom made cereal boxes) to get funds. It was only later that they got sufficient capital and grew the company to its current size.

The Evernote story

Evernote, the leader in note-taking and organization software almost shut down in 2008 because the prospects were so dim. Then suddenly they found one investor who gave $500,000 to keep the company going and it took off with huge momentum.

The Reddit story

Reddit, a much visited online platform (> 169 million unique visitors a month), found the initial going very touch and almost collapsed many times. It started with NO visitors in 2005 and built up its business by a change in strategy – creating fake accounts and holding fake discussions which finally attracted sufficient visitors for the website to grow.

If one strategy fails, try another

As can be seen from the experience of these companies, the trick is to persevere with your ideas. If one strategy fails, try another. May you need a different way of doing things, maybe you need to change your positioning platform, maybe you need to tweak your product.

Whatever it is do not give up unless you have explored all avenues and tried various tactics before you label your venture a failure. Sometimes quitting is the best option but more often not businesses fail because entrepreneurs take the first indications of non-success as failure.  But if you have a good idea, a good team and good intentions, take a chance and your enterprise may just rise again from the ashes to stand tall and firm.