Apparently this is a bit of a myth. Sure some companies were founded on great ideas and become very successful.

I think this feeds into our desire to find the quick fix.

Great idea. Build a great strategy. Start a company. Instant wealth.

In 99.99% of the cases "instant" is actually many years in the making; kind of like the odds of winning the lottery.

In "Built to Last" by Jim Collins, they dispel this myth.

"Why? Because the great-idea approach shifts your attention from seeing the company as the ultimate creation."

Essentially, you focus on the product and not the company. Things change and eventually the product is no longer relevant or something happens to the visionary; then there is nothing.

If you are not distracted by the "idea" you will focus on building a company that can generate great ideas and can run without you at the top. Many great companies simply do lots of things and then throw away the things that don't work. When they started they looked completely different and switched strategies a lot.

I suspect that some tough times in the beginning can help with the focus as well. You learn to be resilient and keep costs under control.

Focus on building a great company (even if it is a small giant). Focus on your customers and find things to sell them. Learn how to do this organizationally.

Still the lottery is pretty tempting… I think I have another great idea!