Do you know what Google, PayPal, Microsoft and Adobe Systems have in common (besides being successful tech companies)?
They all evolved substantially before becoming major successes.
Google started as a search engine. But only after it acquired Applied Semantics, did it realize its true business: text-based advertising.
Microsoft began by building programming software. Later, it found its business in operating systems, Microsoft Office and servers.
Adobe Systems started by developing printer fonts, and then grew into a complete graphics and publishing company.
And finally, PayPal started as a business that allowed people using handheld devices (mainly Palm Pilots) to wirelessly transfer money to each other (from one Palm Pilot to the other). It eventually became a business that facilitated all types of financial transactions online.
So why does this matter?
Because it's important to know that your first idea is rarely your best. And even though you might be really excited about your current business or concept, you must ALWAYS be looking to improve it.
In the case of PayPal, when its users started telling the company they wanted to transfer money to each other online, the PayPal founders listened. And, as a result, they totally revamped their company, grew dramatically, and eventually sold to eBay for $1.5 billion!
One key to this story is that if PayPal had waited and waited to perfect its initial technology, it never would have gained the critical market intelligence regarding the need to transfer money online.
So what does this all mean for you? To make idea this salient to your business, I've created four action items which can have a dramatic impact for you:
1) Get your product or service to market. Even if it's not perfect, make sure you get real customers using it so that you can get feedback.
2) Make sure you solicit feedback. As much as negative feedback may hurt, you need it to improve your business.
3) If your initial idea is wrong, that's ok. That is, as long as you allow your idea to evolve (and don't run out of cash before you evolve).
4) Believe in Darwin. Make sure that you constantly adapt to changing market conditions. Determine if your customers are asking for something different than you're currently giving
You're an entrepreneur and you have a vision of your success. Make sure that you are flexible, and realize this:
"The success that you envision today, might be different than the success you achieve tomorrow."
As long as you adapt, think creatively, and never give up, you will get there!