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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。

    2.勇为牛首

    “宁为鸡首,不为牛后”的想法虽然没什么不对,但长远的赢家却还是牛首。成为牛首的方式有两种, 一是打入已有的大市场,二是新开创一个大市场。

    当初,马克•贝尼奥夫建立 Salesforce.com并专注于客户关系管理业务时,它已经是一个庞大的市场,同时也存在一个市场龙头 Siebel Systems,后者在被甲骨文公司(Oracle)收购前,年收入已近高达 13 亿美元。建立 Salesforce.com,打造第一个真正的 SaaS 应用,贝尼奥夫成功打入 CRM 市场。今天的 Salesforce 年营业额已超过 30 亿美元,远远超过巅峰时期的 Siebel,但贝尼奥夫并不需要创造一个庞大的市场——它已经在那里,而他能够打入这个市场,并从一开始就占据领导位置。

    相反,Google(Google)曾经建立了强大的搜索技术,但早期并没有找到真正的盈利模式。当然,搜索营销 并不是 Google 的发明,它只是将市场再造,单凭一己之力,在短短 10 年时间里,就使搜索营销的市场规模增长了 20 倍。

    如果您的公司也希望成为牛首,您的使命将是规划如何赢得重要的市场份额。如果市场不够大,就得规划如何推出新产品、或者侵占相邻市场来扩大市场。

    3.通过差异化赢得竞争

    公司越成功,面临激烈竞争的可能性越大。很不幸的是,成功的企业如果缺乏差异化,竞争加剧往往会带来无尽的烦恼。例如,团购网站Groupon过去增长就非常迅速,但它的竞争优势并不突出,许多竞争对手也可以向消费者提供类似的优惠。结果,这家公司一直疲于奔命,难以创造价值。

    与 Groupon 的经历相反的则是商务社交网站LinkedIn。LinkedIn 的优势在于一项重大的核心差异化因素,那就是它独一无二的数据库。随着工商界专业人士不断更新资料和关系网络,数据也得到持续丰富。凭借网络的强大力量,它所向披靡,无可替代。LinkedIn 已经找到这种数据库的盈利模式,同时加上没有竞争威胁,它近期的利润率还有上升的可能。

    4.打造强大的管理团队

    最好的管理团队会带来上述全部三个特质——他们在企业规模扩大的同时改造着企业架构,使它变得更好,他们扩大市场,同时建立强大的竞争壁垒。在商业上,唯一不变的就是永恒的变化。最好的团队时刻牢记这一点,持续更新人才库,培养新领导人才,在不可避免的市场变革来临时挺身而出,面对瞬息万变的市场始终保持敏捷性。高级领导团队的周围也都是最好的人才,常常董事会既有人质疑他们的决定,也有人帮助他们取得成功。

    事情就这样简单。尽管这四大秘诀并不是高深的火箭技术,但也不是唾手可得。但提前专注于这四点可能有助于提高您的成功几率。

    格伦‧所罗门是风投公司 GGV Capital 的合伙人。他近期所作的投资包括流媒体音乐服务商 Pandora、人才管理云计算公司Successfactors、群集存储系统公司Isilon、移动支付技术公司Square、客户服务软件供应商Zendesk、网络广告公司Quinstreet 和存储及备份解决方案供应商Nimble Storage。本文是针对期望做大的成长阶段创业者的系列文章的第一篇。

    2. Target an Enormous Market

    There's no shame in building a dominant player in a small market, but your market has to be huge if you want to be a long-term winner. There are two ways to get there – disrupt an existing large market or build into a new one.

    When Marc Benioff started Salesforce.com (CRM) and focused on customer relationship management, this was already a huge market with a leader, Siebel Systems, generating $1.3 billion in the year before its acquisition by Oracle (ORCL). Launching Salesforce.com as the first true SaaS application, Benioff disrupted the CRM market. Today, at over a $3 billion run rate, Salesforce is much larger than Siebel at its peak, but Benioff didn't have to create an enormous market - it was there and he was able to wrestle leadership from the incumbent via disruption.

    Google (GOOG), on the other hand, had built great search technology but hadn't quite figured out how to monetize it in its early days. Sure, Google didn't invent search marketing, but the company re-invented the market and single-handedly grew search marketing 20x in size over a 10-year period.

    If your company is targeting an enormous market, your mission is to figure out how to win meaningful market share. If your market isn't huge, figure out how to grow it by introducing new products or attacking adjacent spaces.

    3. Differentiate to Protect Against Competition

    The more successful a company, the more likely it will engender serious competition. Unfortunately for undifferentiated high fliers, increased competition often causes trouble. Groupon (GRPN) grew very fast, but its competitive moat wasn't deep and too many others have been able to offer similar savings to consumers. The company has struggled to create value as a result.

    Contrast Groupon's experience with LinkedIn (LNKD). LinkedIn benefits from a meaningful core differentiator – its unique data set. This data is enriched continually as business professionals keep their profiles and networks fresh. Given the power of the network, there isn't a viable alternative. LinkedIn has been able to effectively monetize this data set, and without the threat of competition, appears positioned to grow profitably for the foreseeable future.

    4. Build a Great Management Team

    The best management teams excel at building the three attributes mentioned above – they structure businesses to get better as they scale, they expand the markets they go after and they create significant competitive barriers. In business, the only constant is change however. The best teams recognize this and continually refresh the talent pool, grooming new leaders who are out in front of inevitable market shifts and who enable agility in the face of dynamic markets. The top teams also surround themselves with the best people, often times with boards that both challenge them and help them win.

    There you have it. While these four keys aren't rocket science, they're also not simple to achieve. The good news is that focusing on them early can help improve your chances of success!

    Glenn Solomon is a partner with venture captal firm GGV Capital. Some of his recent investments include Pandora, Successfactors, Isilon, Square, Zendesk, Quinstreet and Nimble Storage. This post the first of a series for growth-stage entrepreneurs who are thinking big.

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