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星巴克最年轻女董事:创业需要做出哪些牺牲?

史宗玮 2015年05月10日

在这个“万众创业”的时代,人人都想创业,但没有一条创业之路是一帆风顺的,创业者唯有具备非凡的勇气和坚定的信念,才有成功的希望。Hearsay Social创始人兼CEO史宗玮结合自身经历,总结出了三条重要的创业教训:做好牺牲的准备;明智地选择合伙人;始终关注客户。

    史宗玮,Hearsay Social公司创始人兼CEO,星巴克最年轻女董事 

    领导力内部网络是邀请最有智慧、最具影响力的商界人士及时回答职业与领导力问题的在线社区。本期我们的问题是“你会给打算创业的人提什么建议?”以下为Hearsay Social创始人兼CEO史宗玮的回答。

    如今的硅谷(我就住在那里),似乎人人都想创业。但创建一家公司远不止一个创意那么简单。你需要为之付出心血、汗水和泪水,要对创业达到痴迷的程度。事实上,成为创业者绝非易事。5年前离开销售软件公司Salesforce.com创建Hearsy Social,是我迄今为止做过的最艰难但也是最好的决定。要放弃大公司的舒适工作,开始白手起家,需要有非凡的勇气和坚定的信念。对此,我从未后悔。

    对于准备冒险一试的人,我可以保证,创业将给你带来前所未有的回报。下面是我在创业过程中总结的几条最重要的经验:

    做好牺牲的准备

    初创公司要想成功,必须克服重重困难。最初,除了自己的能力与资源,你一无所有。显然,所有公司都比你的公司规模更大,经营时间更长,比你更加成熟。要想取得胜利,你必须力争上游,而这需要你努力工作,付出大量的时间。除此之外,没有捷径。

    公司成立后的第一年,所有人都在不分昼夜地工作。最初,我们在我的客厅里通宵工作,后来有了第一间办公室,我们会在凌晨三点回家,甚至就在办公室过夜。根本不存在病假或休假。那段时间,我错过了朋友们的生日,这让我非常遗憾。除了与同事之间的交流,我停止了一切社交活动。我还必须尽快让自己坦然接受在不确定的时间内没有薪水的现状。每一位创业者需要做出的牺牲也有所不同,但可以确定的是,牺牲是不可避免的。成功需要专注,而专注则意味着取舍。

    明智地选择合伙人

    评估、吸引和建立与联合创始人、早期员工和投资者之间可靠的工作关系,是决定成败的关键。我很幸运能与好朋友、斯坦福大学的同学史蒂夫•加里蒂一起创建Hearsay Social公司。有人一起交流想法,讨论重大决定和交换不同意见,能让创业新人受益匪浅。十多年的友谊为我们奠定了信任的基础,让我们可以自由地辩论,相互扶持地度过所有初创公司都需要经历的情绪过山车。

    初期重要岗位的招聘也会决定公司的命运。Hearsay的第一名员工在公司身兼数职,最近前往伦敦,组建和领导Hearsay Social的欧洲团队。另外一名早期员工最初担任客户成功经理,后来负责运营客户成功部门,数月前飞赴香港组建亚洲团队。创始团队与早期员工将决定公司的文化。在Hearsay,我们很早便确定了公司的三条核心价值观:1) 帮助客户实现长期的成功,2) 团队合作,3) 完成任务。从成立至今,我们一直在基于这三条价值观进行招聘和人才培养,实现员工的自我强化。公司在整个发展过程中始终需要有强大的合伙人与员工,但在初期尤为重要。

    关注客户

    许多公司都在谈论客户成功,但有多少公司能真正始终将客户放在首位?Hearsay最引以为豪的时刻之一是在今年早些时候。当时,我们的一位客户,来自一家《财富》百强公司的CEO,在公司1月份的立项活动上发表演说,声称要将Hearsay视为合作伙伴,而不是供应商。这家公司由CEO和总经理负责与Hearsay的关系,而不是采购部门。这是一种真正的合作伙伴关系,也是我们成功的关键。要达到这种程度的信任并不容易,这也是我们每天必须努力去实现的目标。

    事实上,帮助客户实现成功这一理念,从公司创立至今也在不断变化。在Hearsay创立之初,客户成功意味着客户有我的私人电话号码。这意味着通宵修复代码错误,以及其他需要极大的勇气才能付诸实施的行动。如今,我们有全球客户支持团队,有一个1-800免费电话(谢天谢地!),还有一个确保产品质量与网站可靠性的团队。从诺德斯特龙和扎珀斯,到苹果,再到客户服务软件开发商Zendesk,每一家成功的公司都有一个共同的特点:专注于为客户做正确的事情,并使客户满意。从最开始便专注于为客户或潜在客户服务,成功也会水到渠成。(财富中文网)

    译者:刘进龙/汪皓

    审校:任文科

    The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What advice would you give someone looking to start their own business?” is by Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Social.

    In Silicon Valley (where I live) it can feel like anyone with an idea these days is starting a company. But building a business requires far more than an idea. It requires blood, sweat, and tears to the point of obsession. There is in fact nothing easy about being an entrepreneur. Leaving Salesforce.com five years ago to found Hearsay Social was one of the hardest but best decisions I’ve ever made. It took every ounce of courage and conviction to make the leap from a comfortable job at a big company to a completely blank slate. And I have never looked back.

    For those of you ready to take the plunge, I assure you there are few things in life as rewarding. Here are a few of the most important lessons I have picked up along the way:

    Be ready for sacrifice

    When startups succeed, they do so against all odds. In the beginning, you have nothing except for your own talents and resources. By definition, everyone else is bigger, further along, and more established than you. To win, you have to swim upstream early on–and that requires hard work and long hours. There are no shortcuts.

    Our first year in particular was marked by long days and nights that often blurred together. We pulled all-nighters in my living room, and then when we got our first office, we would go home at three in the morning or often just spend the night. There were no sick days or vacations. I regret missing my friends’ birthdays during this time. I stopped socializing altogether except with coworkers. I also had to get comfortable and adapt quickly to not having a salary for an indefinite amount of time. The specific areas of sacrifice are different for each entrepreneur, but there is always sacrifice of one form or another. Success requires focus, and focus is about tradeoffs.

    Choose your partners wisely

    The ability to evaluate, attract, and build strong working relationships with cofounder(s), early employees, and investors often means the difference between success and failure. I was incredibly fortunate to co-found Hearsay Social with longtime friend and Stanford classmate, Steve Garrity. As first-time entrepreneurs, it helped tremendously to bounce ideas and talk through big decisions and differing perspectives with one another. Our decade-long friendship provided a foundation of trust for us to debate as well as reassure one another through the inevitable emotional roller coaster that is part of every startup journey.

    Your key early hires will help determine the fate of your business, too. Hearsay’s first employee, has played multiple roles within the company and recently moved to London to start and head Hearsay Social Europe. Another early employee, started as a customer success manager, later ran our customer success department, and a few months ago moved to Hong Kong to launch our Asia office. The founding team and early employees establish the company culture. At Hearsay, we decided early on that we would value three things above all else: 1) long-term customer success, 2) teamwork and 3) getting stuff done. Since our founding, we have hired and promoted based on these values, which makes them self-reinforcing. The need for strong partners and employees persists throughout the life of a company, but it is especially important in the beginning.

    Obsess over your customer

    Many companies talk about customer success, but how many actually put the customer first above all else, always? One of Hearsay’s proudest moments happened earlier this year, when a customer of ours—the CEO of a Fortune 100company–spoke at our January kickoff event and said he views Hearsay as a partner, not a vendor. At this company, the CEO and general managers–rather than the procurement department–own the relationship with Hearsay. It is a true partnership and crucial to our success. This level of trust was not easy to achieve, and is something we must re-earn every day.

    In practice, enabling customer success has also evolved significantly since our founding days. Early on, customer success at Hearsay meant customers having my personal cell phone number. It meant pulling all-nighters to fix a bug in the code and other hero moves. Today, we have a global customer support team with a 1-800 number (thankfully!) and quality assurance and site reliability teams. From Nordstrom and Zappos to Apple and Zendesk, a focus on doing right by the customer and delighting her or him is what every successful company has in common. Obsess over your customer or would-be customer from the very beginning, and the rest will work itself out.

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