专栏 - 向Anne提问


Anne Fisher 2014年11月20日

Anne Fisher为《财富》杂志《向Anne提问》的专栏作者,这个职场专栏始于1996年,帮助读者适应经济的兴衰起落、行业转换,以及工作中面临的各种困惑。

    • 管理层有哪些商业经验?哈里斯认为,理想情况下,管理团队应该具备经营一家盈利企业的丰富经验,尤其是要具备“在合规与监管问题和成本控制方面的实践经验”。否则,应该搞清楚创始人计划如何解决这些至关重要的日常问题?技术专业知识和一个有市场的创意当然重要,但一家公司的日常经营则是另外一回事。要保证公司所有职责人员齐备。

    • 公司对未来3个月、6个月、9个月和12个月制定了怎样的发展计划?哈里斯问道:“这家初创公司如何扩大客户群?公司是否有旨在将业务重点多样化的计划?”对于这些问题,去初创公司面试的普通求职者也许只能靠自己摸索,因为“大多数私营公司不会立刻披露收入预测。但面试者可以并且应该询问一下公司的未来扩张计划,以及扩大市场份额的方案。”

    • 公司是否有退出策略?这一点同样应该在商业计划书中提到,即便这只是一种设想(当然在目前这个阶段,也只能是设想)。公司创始人是否考虑过最终如何回报投资者?例如,是被更大的公司收购,还是进行IPO?既然你儿子的工资一半为股份,是否有人考虑过他未来如何将这些股份变现?弄清楚这个问题才是明智的做法。





    • What business experience do the principals bring to the table? Ideally, the management team should have solid experience at running a profitable enterprise, especially “hands-on experience in compliance and regulatory issues and cost containment,” says Harris. If not, how do the founders plan to handle all those mundane but essential matters? Tech expertise and a marketable idea are great, but running a company day-to-day is something else. Make sure all the necessary pieces are in place.

    • What’s the growth plan for the business 3, 6, 9, and 12 months out? “How will the startup grow its customer base? Are there plans to diversify the focus of the business?” Harris asks. The average job seeker interviewing at a startup has to fly blind on these questions, since “most private companies aren’t quick to disclose revenue projections,” she notes. “But interviewees can, and should, still ask about the company’s plans for expansion and growing market share.”

    • Is there an exit strategy? Again, this should be mentioned in the business plan, even if it’s only tentative (which, at this stage, it almost has to be). Have the people starting the firm thought about how investors will eventually be repaid — through acquisition by a bigger outfit, for example, or an IPO? Since so much of your son’s pay will be in equity, it would be smart to find out whether anyone has thought about how he might someday turn it into cash.

    In weighing the move from a big company to a startup, your son has at least two big advantages. First, his prospective bosses or co-founders are friends, so he can ask tough questions about things that most private companies don’t like to discuss.

    Second, he’s only three years out of college. The decision to work for a new venture (or not) depends partly on “each person’s stage of life,” Harris notes. “Given startups’ high failure rate, and some potentially lean early years even if the company eventually succeeds, it may just be too risky for someone who has a family, or who wants to buy a house.” Your son isn’t there yet, so why not just recommend he look carefully before he leaps, and wish him luck? If it helps, you could think of this as a continuation of his education. The School of Hard Knocks, if that’s where he’s headed, has been great preparation for plenty of stellar careers.

    Talkback: Have you ever moved from a large, stable employer to a startup? How did it work out? Leave a comment below.

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