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新上市科技公司行为准则

Glenn Solomon 2013年04月24日

毫无疑问,公司上市前后的日子存在天壤之别。管理上市公司没有放之四海皆准的成功秘诀。但是本文提供的这些建议将有助于你在商海中稳稳掌舵,乘风破浪。

    当一家由风投注资的科技公司成功上市之后,它的日子会变得难过得多。即便是马林软件(Marin Software)这样表现抢眼的公司,也必须要成功地管理好股东群由风投公司向公共资金的转变。如果在这个过程中出了岔子,公司必将付出重大代价。

    如果你是一个成长期公司的企业家,而且准备长期发展,那么在上市的过程中,你也会遇到类似的挑战。首先,会有很多分析师和基金经理想和你谈话。这些人提出的问题和风投公司提出的问题是很不一样的——他们会非常详细地询问关于竞争对手、客户和供应商的情况,同时也会问一些开放性的、宽泛的问题。你可能弄不清楚他们真正想知道的是什么。你也不会经常知道谁在买卖、持有和做空你的股票。同时,你的股价可能会因为一些看似不相关和不重要的新闻而上下波动。

    如果你是一家新上市公司的管理者,下面的建议也许能帮你应对前方道路上的各种困难。

正确行为

    关注基本面;不要忘了归根结底是什么让你上市的。如果你的公司已经上市了,说明你已经做了很多正确的事。作为一家上市公司,你的基本战略不应该改变。如果你的企业文化是以客户为导向的,那么即便你上市了,这一点也应该坚持下去。如果你为公司制定了非常大胆的目标,也不要害怕让公共投资人知道(但要做好准备,随着时间的推移,他们会督促你实现这个目标)。首次公开募股和越来越多的媒体关注可能会让你的员工分心,甚至可能给公司的业绩拖后腿。因此,必须让团队像往常一样继续把注意力放在业务上,以便继续保持成功。

    长期贪婪,短期谨慎。天马行空地展望未来可能很过瘾,然而如果沉迷于不切实际的幻想,将来可能会让你头痛不已。因此,要切实制定对未来的预期。这和典型的私人公司的行为恰恰是背道而驰的。对于私人公司来说,你的风投可能会逼着你制订庞大的计划和大胆的预期,然后实现计划的80%到90%就可以了。当你一旦上市了,如果你的业绩与当初的预期相差了10%,则可能会导致灾难性的后果。保持较低的预期可能会压低你的股价,但是如果你连续达到、甚至超过了预期,那么你就为机构投资人赚了钱,同时建立起了信誉,有望得到机构投资人的支持。

    尊重投资界。一旦你的公司上市了,不可避免地会有许多新的事务占用你的时间。你一方面要花时间应付这些事,一方面还不能把重点从业务上转移开来。因此,你必须在两者之间取得平衡。要持之以恒,如果你在运营上遇到了困难,不要沉默以对,也不要因为有些投资者或分析师对你的股票持负面态度就拒人千里。要知道卖方分析师是一个支点,他们可以帮你不把你的坏消息传到投资者耳朵里。

    When a venture-backed tech company goes public, their life becomes much tougher. Even for strong companies like Marin Software (MRIN), the key is successfully managing the shift of their shareholder base from VCs to public funds. Failure to do so can be punishing.

    If you're a growth-stage entrepreneur looking to go long, you'll have a similar challenge when you go public. New analysts and fund managers will want your time. The types of questions you'll field from these folks will be very different than those from your VCs -- they'll get very specific about competitors, customers and suppliers -- and also ask open-ended, big-picture questions. It can be unclear what they're getting at. Knowledge of who is buying, selling, holding and/or shorting can be sporadic. Meanwhile, your stock price can vacillate up and down on unrelated and seemingly unimportant news.

    The suggestions below aim to help you navigate the bumpy terrain you'll confront as a newly-public company:

DOs

    Focus on fundamentals; don't forget what got you public in the first place. If you've gotten public, you're doing a lot right. Your recipe for success as a public company shouldn't change. If you've built your culture to focus on the customer, this should remain consistent even after you're public. Similarly, if you've rallied your company around an audacious goal, don't be afraid to share it with public investors (but expect them to hold you to this goal over time). IPOs and increased media attention can be very distracting to your employees and a drag on performance. It's critical that you keep your team focused on business as usual to maintain success.

    Be long term greedy, not short term greedy. It can feel euphoric to let future expectations run wild, but it can cause big headaches down the road when you're held to these lofty projections. Instead, keep expectations tamped down wherever possible. This runs counter to typical private company behavior, where VCs push you to think big, make bold projections and reward the achievement of 80-90% of your plan. When you're public, missing numbers by 10% can have disastrous effects. Keeping expectations low may depress your stock price, but if you make money for institutional investors and establish credibility with them by achieving or beating numbers consistently, you'll earn their support.

    Be respectful of the investment community. Once you've gone public, you'll inevitably have many new demands on your time. You need to balance being available with the risk of losing focus on your business. Be consistent -- don't go silent if you're in the midst of a rough patch in your operations and don't turn off to investors or analysts who are negative on your stock. Recognize that sell-side analysts are a point of leverage -- they help you keep your story out in front of investors.

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