The fear of messing up especially after tasting a little success is quite serious.
First, a tale of 2 companies.
Company A built an effective way for people to find information on the Internet, they became very successful and in effect, they became the true homepage of the Internet. A compulsory portal for anybody who wants to use the Internet productively.
They became very successful and then they branched out, building familiar things like email, blogging systems and news aggregation services. Then they decided they had a shot at building the future, so they started building self-driving cars and delivery drones.
Of course, I am talking about Google.
Company B built a very popular forum, what exactly was done to make it a huge success appears to not really known except that the timing was right and people resonated with the idea. Company B had also built an effective way for people to find information but they stopped at that. They never really ventured out into any other business and as such, a host of other guys have been allowed to show up and takeover other key sectors like ecommerce and real estate.
Company B is Nairaland, one of the most popular Internet destinations in Africa.
I think that just as Google is running around the world and making tons of money, Nairaland also should have done likewise if the guy running it had stepped up bravely to look at how he could expand out.
What would happen to Nairaland tomorrow if a new forum somehow managed to seduce people away from it? Or will the forum remain relevant forever?
You must never allow the little success you have achieved stop you from trying to reach out to make so much more. When you have made a little success, rather than take a mis-step like Digg and mess it all up, you are tempted to sit still and do NOTHING. But is doing nothing really better than expansion attempts?
I think every smart Entrepreneur needs to realise that a true entrepreneurial career means a lifetime of projects. The initial success is not so that you retire and go to bed, the initial success is supposed to give you confidence and cash to execute the next project. Do not grow cold feet, be bold!
In fact, you owe it as a point of duty to the people who use your services, you have solved problem A for them, can you help fix B, C, D, E and even F? This is actually why Google got to build Gmail. You also owe it to your staff, you have to keep the creative people working for you fired up and working.
Cobhams sang that he would rather be a fallen hero than be afraid to rise at all. I think there is a lot of wisdom in this.
PS: This post was inspired by this article about Nairaland.