The secret to overnight commercial success

Wednesday 22 June, 2016 | By: Catherine Pham | Tags: marketing, strategy, collaborate, innovation

Every week in the news you’ll hear about a business, seemingly out of nowhere, who has snagged a fast pass to fame and fortune.

While we certainly celebrate these accomplishments, do you find yourself asking: “If overnight success is that easy, what the heck am I doing wrong?”

The truth is, there is no hidden secret. In fact, you may be surprised to find that many of these businesses in fact started out just as you did.

Case in point is Australian jewellery designer Samantha Wills (pictured here), who openly admits it took her 12 years to become an ‘overnight success’. Wills is turning over $10 million a year and styles some of the biggest celebrities – but it was certainly not all glitz and glamour at the start.

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There were countless late nights spent making jewellery and several 3am starts to get to the local markets in time. Wills racked up $80,000 worth of credit card debt to keep her business going, until she finally got her big break at the Australian Fashion Week.

We are not strangers to the stories of large global companies boasting billion dollar valuations and their humble beginnings either. The likes of Amazon, Apple, Google, Disney, Mattel and Harley Davidson all started operating out of a family home garage.

Indeed, most of these companies took decades to get where they are today. Even more importantly, they had never set out to create Amazon, Apple or Google. They started with the simple concept of creating an online bookstore, a computer and to figure out a search algorithm.

A great deal of blood, sweat and tears is a given, but there are certainly some characteristics in common with successful businesses.

You will find that they:

  • Have a BIG vision – Entrepreneurs are visionaries and the bigger the vision, the better chance a business has at success. While a vision alone won’t make a difference, it is the determination, commitment and the actions taken towards the vision that will make stuff happen.
  • Remain flexible (Pivot) – Like Amazon, Apple and Google, be open to changing your focus when you identify new opportunities and try new things to figure out what will work and what won’t.
  • Devise a great marketing strategy – Whether you’re no good at or hate marketing, it just has to be done and it has to be done well. Quite simply, if customers don’t know you’re there, they can’t purchase your product.
  • Have failed many times – Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Edison, Richard Branson and J.K. Rowling all have one in thing in common – they have experience massive failure, sometimes more than once, before they found fame and fortune. The other thing they have in common is remaining focused and not giving up.
  • Collaborate – We know that we are no longer competing with the business down the road anymore, we are competing on a global scale and it is undoubtedly a dog-eat-dog world. When businesses work together, and with mentors, government, universities and the community, chances are someone has been through a similar situation and can help you succeed faster.

Just remember, every business started from nothing. Those who have found undeniable success have more likely than not failed several times, hit countless hurdles, and taken over 10 years to get to where they are.

So if you’re still waiting for success, just keep pushing and don’t give up. You might just be the next ‘overnight success’.

Catherine Pham headshot 080816 About the contributor:
Catherine is one of CCIQ’s policy advisors committed to representing the interests of Queensland’s businesses. Catherine’s portfolio with CCIQ includes innovation, infrastructure planning, workforce planning and tourism. As a qualified town planner, Catherine has a breadth of experience on looking at how our cities can better connect people to Queensland businesses as part of the widespread and global supply chain. She is particularly passionate about finding efficiencies through the lens of innovation.  



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