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只是钱够烧可不行,这四条守则决定初创公司生死存亡

Michael Reitblat 2017年03月06日

在创业的路上,命运会和你作对,也没人相信你能成功。可只要你不放弃,就有机会想办法撑到最终的胜利。

透视企业家是一个在线社区,美国创业界最睿智、最有影响力的一些大咖会在这里及时回答与创业和职场有关的问题。今天的问题是:如果想创业成功,企业家应具备哪些知识?回答者是零售网站防诈骗服务供应商Forter的联合创始人兼首席执行官迈克尔•雷特布拉特。

一般规律是,初创公司烧光钱就会倒闭,可我认为没这么简单。有钱是不够的。我觉得,错过发展的时间窗口,初创公司也会夭折:竞争太激烈导致企业疲于奔命,市场又变化太快,企业提出的解决方案或产品和专长转眼就会过时。手握资金却跟不上变化的公司只会沦为行尸走肉。

经营初创公司可能就像下国际象棋的快棋,棋手要在十分钟内走完所有步。企业家总要在追求速度和正确决策之间权衡,没有足够时间处理所有信息并测试所有选择。如果找不到办法尽快成功,就输了。

假如你是美国国际象棋大师鲍比•费舍尔那样的天才,我这里的建议对你都不适用。但更有可能的是,你跟我差不多:怀着一腔热情创业,渴望取得成功,推动世界变革,周围的人都很优秀所以你也干劲十足。

创业这些年,我也小结了一些至关重要的常识,可以概括为以下四大生存守则:

“失误铸就辉煌”

顾名思义,初创公司是创造全新的东西,可能是新产品,尝试新的商业模式,或是进入新的细分市场。所以关键是要记住,过去对别人奏效的不一定适用于新环境。

初创公司的成功之路总是伴随无数错误和失败。你应该做好一再失败的准备。鼓励团队为追求辉煌敢冒风险,更重要的是确保失败后能保护好他们。

幸运的是,职业生涯之初我就吸取了这一教训。当时我是一名年轻的陆军军官,指挥官听说我负责的一个项目会失败,尽管还不清楚详情,他还是向大家明确表示完全支持我。他公开表示信任鼓起了我的斗志,此后我更卖力苦干,筹划也更注重大局,最终项目极其成功。

为了充分发挥人才所长,要将适合的人选安排在适合的地方,不必过于担心缺点。

“比竞争对手学得更快,或许是唯一能让你在竞争中保持优势的能力。”

市场时刻在变,总是冒出新科技、新企业,客户预期各不相同,时不时还有新的竞争者。如果企业没法迅速适应变化,注定会失败。

我们都知道牛顿第一运动定律:运动的物体会保持运动,静止的物体会保持静止,除非受到不均衡的外力,否则运动状态不会改变。人们通常称之为惰性,也是企业发展中最重要的影响因素(可能仅次于复利)。一定要主动抵抗惰性。对付惰性改变现有事物,需要很大的勇气,因为你和周围的人总能找到借口安慰自己,现状挺好不用改,而且改变意味着承认现在做得还不够好。

回首过往,每次需要改变现状当断不断都浪费了宝贵的时间,结果是更多挫折。可只要我们开始加快步伐学习和业务有关的新事物,收益都相当不菲。

“蹩脚的计划也聊胜于无”

创始人通常心怀无畏地成立公司,但仅靠愿景还不足以让企业发展壮大。我就试过很多次,全都失败告终。无论你多么擅长灵活应变迅速决策,都必须有切实的计划,估计好相关事项。那样一来,创业团队成员会清楚你打算如何实现梦想。

“成功不是终点,失败不是末日:继续前进的勇气才是关键。”

归根结底就看有没有勇气坚持。屡败屡战,不断前进。如果你能带出韧性十足的团队,学习迅速,适应新情况更是能力一流,那你只需要坚持到找到正确方向就行。

我人生中最骄傲的一刻是登上“非洲屋脊”乞力马扎罗山的顶峰。登山第一天我仰望了下相距近2万英尺(合6096米)的顶峰。此后四天,我们一行人不断上升下降,高海拔的气候反复无常,空气也越来越稀薄。我脑子里只想着爬上最高点乌呼鲁峰。后来我才知道向导对登山的同伴说,我的身体状况不好可能没法登顶,最好赶紧下撤。幸运的是当时没人告诉我,尽管肺部一直很疼,我不断提醒自己不管怎样都要登顶。最后我做到了,有如奇迹一般。

我深信,创业之路也是如此。命运女神会和你作对,也没人相信你能成功。可只要你不放弃,就有机会想办法撑到最终的胜利。(财富中文网)

 

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “What must every entrepreneur know about startup success?” is written by Michael Reitblat, co-founder and CEO of Forter.

The common rule is that startups die when they run out of money, but I don’t buy that. Having money is not enough. I believe that startups die when they run out of time: The competition beats them to it, their market shifts, and the solution or their product and expertise is no longer relevant. Those who still have money and can’t pivot fast enough just turn into zombies.

Running a startup is like playing blitz chess, where each player has under 10 minutes to play all of the moves. You’re continually balancing speed with the need to make good decisions. There is never enough time to process all of the information and test all of the options—and if you don’t find a way to win in time, you lose.

If you are the Bobby Fischer of entrepreneurs, nothing I say here can apply to you. On the other hand, maybe you’re more like me: You run a startup out of passion, a desire to succeed and drive change, and the energy you get from a team of exceptional people surrounding you.

These four quotes encapsulate that common sense that I've found most valuable over the years when founding my own startups:

“Without error, there can be no brilliancy.”

By definition, almost everything a startup does is creating something entirely new, whether it be building a new product, trying a new business model, or reaching a new market segment. So it’s important to remember that what’s worked for someone once isn’t guaranteed to work in a new context.

Every startup’s road to success is paved with many errors and failures. You should be ready to fail—repeatedly. Encourage your team to take risks to find brilliance, and more importantly, keep them safe when they fail.

I was lucky to learn that lesson early on in my career as a young army officer. My commander at the time heard that a project I was working on was failing. He didn’t even know the details of what happened, but made it clear to everyone that he had my back. His public faith invigorated me and made me work harder and think bigger—which eventually led to a tremendously successful conclusion for that project.

Put the right people in the right places to maximize their strengths, and don’t be too concerned about their weaknesses.

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

The market changes all of the time—new technology, new businesses, different customer expectations, and surely new competitors. Unless your startup adapts to those changes fast enough, you’ll lose.

We all remember Newton’s First Law: Objects in motion stay in motion, and objects at rest stay at rest unless acted upon by an unbalancing force. It’s more commonly referred to as inertia, and it’s the most powerful force in business (maybe second to compound interest). Fight inertia actively and fiercely. It will require courage to stand up to the way things are, because you and everyone around you can always find excuses not to, and because it means admitting things could be done better.

Looking back, every time I’ve waited to make a decision changing the status quo, we lost precious time, and it just caused further frustration. But once we started acting faster upon learning something new about our business, it paid handsome dividends.

“A bad plan is better than none at all.”

Companies are built on the foundation of the bold visions of their founders. But vision alone is not enough to get from A to B. I’ve tried that and have failed every time. Regardless of how good you are at thinking on your feet and making decisions on the fly, you have to build a plan and measure everything in relation to that plan. That way, everyone on the team will know how you’re going to make that vision a reality.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

In the end, it all comes down to this. You get knocked down and you get up again, and you keep pushing forward. If you build a resilient team that can learn fast and adapt as fast as it learns, all you’ll need is to not give up until you figure it out.

One of the proudest moments of my life was reaching the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. On the first day of the journey, I started by looking up almost 20,000 feet high. For four days, we went up and down and up again with the ever-changing climate and thinning air. All I cared about was getting to the very top of Uhuru Peak. Later, I found out that our guide told the rest of the team that I wasn’t in good enough shape to make it all the way and would have to turn back soon. Luckily, no one told me, and despite burning lungs, I kept reminding myself that no matter what, I was going to get there. Miraculously, I did.

I’m convinced that startup routes are the same. The odds are set against you, and people don’t believe that you will make it. But until you give up, you have a shot to find the right way to make it to the end.

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