What Does It Take to Build a Company?

By Alan Olsen

The world is full of people who want to get rich. At the same time, there are a lot fewer people who have actually achieved that goal. Perhaps for many on the outside looking in, it would seem logical that most of the world’s wealthiest people got rich because they set out with that goal in mind. However, the truth is that many of the world’s most successful and wealthiest individuals didn’t really have getting rich as their number one priority. Sure, many of them hoped to achieve great wealth, but that was not really the driving force of why they got started and why they became successful. In fact, many of the most successful business owners, actually set out to solve a problem or create something to help people.

A Backward Approach

Startup companies are born every day, and while some go on to achieve huge success, most achieve only minimal results and many others completely fail. Why is it that so many startups never really get off the ground? Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, and one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, shared some insight on this subject during a recent interview. “I always think that this is kind of a perverse thing about Silicon Valley in a way, which is that people decide often that they want to start a company before they even decide what they want to do, and that just feels really backwards to me.”

Solve a Problem

A lot of people want to start their own company, for a lot of different reasons, but starting a company just for the sake of starting a company often leads to failure. According to Mark, many of the most successful companies achieve greatness because they set out to make life better. “I always think that you should start with the problem that you're trying to solve in the world and not start with deciding that you want to build a company.” He also said that the best companies are the ones “that are trying to drive some kind of social change even if it's just local in one place more than starting out because you want to make a bunch of money or have a lot of people working for you or build some company in some way.”

Deliver Real Value

Building a company is not easy. It takes time, effort, hard work and dedication. Mark said, “For anyone who's had the experience of actually building a company, you know that you go through some really hard things along the way.” So what does it take to get through those hard times and achieve success? “I think part of what gets you through that is believing in what you're doing and knowing that what you're doing is really delivering a lot of value for people, and that's, I think, how the best companies end up getting made.”