Glenn Solomon 2013年02月04日


    实际上,市值超过 10 亿美元的科技公司可能有好几十家,而 100 亿美元以上的科技公司则屈指可数。但成功者一定都有共同的特质,胸怀大志的创业者也应努力学习现成的成功模式。





    最近上市的 Workday (WDAY)就是一个例子。这家公司在规模扩大的同时,利润率一直稳步提高。销售和市场推广成本、研发以及行政总务费用等项目占业务收入的比重一直随着业务规模的扩大而呈下降趋势。另一个例子是,尽管最近面临一些挑战,但苹果公司 (Apple's)的股本回报率在过去五年中已经上升了 10%。


    For every example of an enduring high-tech growth company, there are countless more that don't make it. Some of the most talented entrepreneurs get tripped up by product issues, while others successfully launch but plateau well below their aspirations. Still others may get public, but are unable to achieve consistent growth and ultimately fail to create sustaining value.

    In fact, you can count the number of tech companies with over $1 billion in market value on a few pairs of hands, and the list gets much shorter over $10 billion. There are common traits among the winners, however, and aspiring entrepreneurs should always try to learn from existing models of success.

    There are many buttons to push when you're running a company but, in the spirit of Occam's razor, identifying the simplest path can really help with focus. What follows is are four keys to going long. It's far from exhaustive, but if you can nail these four, you'll set your company up to be a long term winner.

    1. Get Better as You Get Bigger

    Most companies that achieve early success find that it gets harder, not easier, to continue prospering as they get larger. Sometimes the initial, founder-led sales are difficult to replicate as less passionate salespeople are hired. Other times, early demand turns out not to be indicative of a broader market need. Whatever the culprit, growing gets harder and maintaining consistent pace feels a bit like running uphill in sand.

    Some rare companies get better as they scale. Sales teams get more efficient as more customers are added and the product matures. Key metrics such as conversion rates, deal sizes, repeat purchases and support costs improve with growth. The results are improving profit margins and higher return on capital over time.

    Look at recently-public Workday (WDAY). The company has been steadily improving profitability with scale. Sales and marketing costs, R&D and G&A all havel been declining as a percentage of revenue as the business scales. Similarly, despite recent challenges, Apple's (AAPL) return on equity has improved by 10% over the past five years.

    Getting better with scale isn't easy but, if you want to build a long term winner, it's essential to invest in your business. This may slow growth for long periods - for example, you may need to slow hiring of sales people until you can build a mature enough product that will support efficient growth - but the long-term result will be worth it.

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