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成长期科技公司成功的4大秘诀

成长期科技公司成功的4大秘诀

Glenn Solomon 2013年02月04日
成功者一定都有共同的特质,胸怀大志的创业者应努力学习现成的成功模式,少走弯路,提高成功的几率。

    每一个高科技创业公司成功站稳脚跟的背后,总有无数倒下的身影。一些最天才的创业者止步于产品问题,而另一些人虽然开局喜人,但终究虎头蛇尾,离目标太远。其他人尽管可能成功上市,但却无法实现持续的增长,当然最终也无法创造持续的价值。

    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。

    尽管公司经营会涉及方方面面的问题,但根据奥卡姆剃刀原则,最简单的道路的确有助于集中力量办大事。下面我们将论述生存的四大法则,当然这远不是生存的全部,但如果您可以秉持这四大法则,您的公司将会成为长期的赢家。

    1.做好与做大同样重要

    很多初期非常成功的公司发现,随着规模的不断扩大,延续以前的成功将会越来越困难,而不是更加容易。有时人们发现,以创始人为主导的初期销售业绩很难复制,因为招聘的销售人员不那么激情澎湃。而另一些时候,初期的需求其实并不代表整体市场的需求。不论罪魁祸首是什么,但最终的结果都是增长越来越困难,保持稳定的前进步伐开始好比逆水行舟。

    只有极少数的公司能随着规模的扩大变得越来越好。销售团队的效率提高,新客户越来越多,产品也越来越成熟。转换率、交易规模、回头客以及支持成本等关键指标都随着收入增长而改善。最终,利润率和股本回报率也随着时间推移而不断提高。

    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%。

    做大的同时做好并不是一件容易的事,但如果您想笑到最后,进行业务投入必不可少。它可能会长时期拖累增长——例如,在可以找到足以支持高效增长的充分成熟产品前,您可能需要放慢销售人员的招聘步伐——但长期的收获绝对值得这样做。

    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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