The Land of Unicorns
It feels like everyone today has a bright idea that is somehow worth billions of dollars. In all the excitement and romance around startups and “unicorns”, I think everyone owes it to themselves to take a gigantic step back to look at the whole picture.
Popular media focuses an immense amount of attention on the big fish and heavy hitters of the current marketplace. It just so happens, the big fish and heavy hitters of today’s marketplace are known as “unicorns”.
Every time that we hear this term, several names come to mind. Uber, Pinterest, Airbnb, SpaceX and Dropbox are just a few members of this group. This “unicorn club”, so to speak, consists of companies that challenge the way entire industries have done business for decades. These companies are very far and few in between, and it is important that we take to heart how difficult it is to be considered among them.
With that being said, this is not to discourage anyone. If you think that you have the chops to be the top of the top, please go and do it. I think if we are perfectly honest with ourselves, we would probably admit that this is not a game that is meant for everyone. And that is OK. The issue is that, some people reading this have probably been slightly defensive through these first few paragraphs. A possible reason for this is because many people have forgotten that there is success outside of the land of unicorns.
The BIG Picture
Have you ever stopped to think about the number of companies in the world today? There are millions! More companies than most people can keep track of. Many of these companies fail. Many just barely make it by. There are plenty, however, that are killing it, and not many people seem to notice.
What do I define as “killing” it? This definition is probably different for me than it is for you. For the purpose of this story, let’s look at a few companies that are doing fairly well for themselves, but you may or may not have heard of them before.
This $158.6 million company provides people with a global electronic payment network that allows someone living in one country to send money to family and friends in another country. Pretty straight forward, right?
A content driven marketing company that specializes in customer acquisition, lead generation and sale conversions for clients. They do around $113 million. Need another?
A company that provides men and women with beauty, grooming and lifestyle products for $10-$20/mo. According to Fortune, they push around $125 million.
Killing it people! Look, the point that I am trying to get to here is pretty simple.
There Are More Horses than Unicorns
In order to truly value this statement, you need to know what success means to you personally. For very few, success is a “unicorn” that disrupts an entire industry. For others, this could be running a bakery. If you do it right, that bakery could make you a killing! Just because your idea doesn’t necessarily fit in with the unicorns of today, does not mean that you shouldn’t get after it to make it the best that it can be.
So what now? If you are already in the trenches of your own company and looking for guidance on where to go, identify what it is that makes your product or service great and focus most or all of your attention there. You can spend time working on the other things along the way. Know your core business.
If you are playing with several ideas and just getting started (and this may apply to everyone out there), make sure that you aren’t getting pulled into the trap of trying to become the next unicorn startup and missing out on the success you could have had by just focusing your attention on something you are actually great at.
In the end, there are several “oceans” to choose from. None guarantee success or failure, but you have to know where it is you want to be. Whichever one that is, choose wisely. Once you jump in you have to be able to swim.
I hope this added some value for everyone who read it. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions below. It would mean the world if you clicked on the heart below to recommend! ;)