Four months into her newest venture, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Oprah is experiencing some of the growing pains that are common to new businesses. While there is a lot of chatter about them because it’s Oprah experiencing them, the reality is that they are completely normal in the scope of a new business.
Here are a few things that Oprah’s situation can teach us (and maybe even her) about new business launches.
It Takes Time: Businesses don’t gain a foundation overnight. It takes time to build up a new business and establish or transfer your customer base, even if you are Oprah Winfrey. It can take two years or even longer for a new business to get traction, which is why it is so critical for businesses to be properly capitalized (aka have enough money to last during this period)!
While naysayers are jumping all over the early results (which by the way, are better than the previous channel’s already), it is very standard for a new venture to take time to settle.
Expect the Unexpected: Just over a week ago, OWN’s President Christina Norman left the network. These kinds of things happen. The only thing certain in business is that nothing is certain. Personnel changes, costs running amok, things taking longer to execute than planned- that’s all normal for a new venture.
It’s All About Execution: Business ideas are a dime a dozen these days. The key to success is all about execution. Regardless of the brand name, it’s about the execution of the business day-in and day-out, every day after launch. This is the key to OWN’s success is continued execution in the form of outstanding programming, engagement of Oprah’s target audience and good old-fashioned rolling up the sleeves and continuing to work. This is something we all know Oprah has proven the ability to do, so I would expect her to keep her eye on the prize. That’s what you need to do too when you launch something new.
So, the next time you are hit with a brilliant idea or asked to invest in a business backed with a big name, keep in mind that there is no magic fairy dust for business. It still takes time, you will still hit bumps in the road and you still need to focus on relentless execution.
Oh, and cut Oprah some slack- this is normal course of business! She’ll be more than fine…