A few weeks ago somebody complimented me on Garrison’s growth: “It’s really cool,” he stated, “you guys are an overnight success story.” I thanked him for the compliment, we talked for a few more minutes, then I went to my office and pondered what he said.
I’m only 38. I became an entrepreneur at 28 when I opened Garrison’s Home Furnishings. The 6 years prior to that I worked in corporate America. I don’t claim to know it all. I actually feel like I know less and less every year. However in my relatively short time in the business world I’m pretty confident of one thing:
Overnight success stories are extremely rare. Like winning a $1.6B lottery rare. Garrison’s is definitely NOT one of them, nor are most others that appear to be.
What looks like an overnight success to those on the outside of an organization looks very different from the inside.
For Garrison’s, what looked like an overnight success to that guy on the outside, was 10 years of hard work, every day, for every person inside our company.
Fighting through hundreds of sleepless nights, trying to figure out how to survive the 2nd worst economic downturn in our country’s history, maxing out every personal credit card to make payroll…for that one “overnight.”
Providing great service, even when we couldn’t afford it and at times to bad customers who didn’t deserve it, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, for the last 10 years…for the one “overnight.”
Paying higher than average wages, retaining the right people, letting go of the wrong people, training, empowering, and providing great employee benefits for 10 years…3,650 days…for that one “overnight.”
And you want to know what is terrifying? As rare as “overnight success” stories are, “overnight bust” stories are equally as common. Building a successful company/team/organization/church/family takes years and years and years. And if we aren’t careful and don’t continue to focus on the principles that made us successful in the first place, it can and will vanish in days.
In reading this it may seem that I was upset when called an overnight success story. Frankly initially I kind of was. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more flattered I’ve become. It’s a huge compliment to everybody at Garrison’s that we made something so difficult seem easy.
Building a successful ANYTHING isn’t easy. Most of the time it’s simple, sometimes ridiculously simple, but never easy. Whether you’re a student trying to graduate and start a career, a couple trying to raise a family, a manager trying to build a team, or an entrepreneur trying to build a company, you need to grind it out. Do the best you can every day. Again. And again. And again.
Then somewhere down the road you’ll become an overnight success story.
Garrison’s Home Furnishings
6435 Crater Lake Highway
Central Point, OR. 97502
Check out their website here