A successful startup does not flower solely from a great product or idea, says Ann Miura-Ko, partner at FLOODGATE Fund. She argues that success stems from the ability to grow a business around that great idea. The venture ecosystem, a flush customer base, accessible distribution channels and manufacturing - all of these factors must converge into a business model that is both viable and scalable. Fortunately, the Internet allows companies to rapidly test business models, for example, through the use of social media leveraged with demand creation and flexible pricing structures.
Amit Chatterjee, CEO and founder of Hara, pinpoints a shift in the startup game. It used to be that young businesses tapped their national market completely before heading overseas. Now, says Chatterjee, the focus is to approach multiple global markets simultaneously - for Hara, this meant reaching out to the UK, the Middle East, and Japan from the company's start.
Before you create a revolution via a business launch, have an idea of how you're going to build an enterprise and capture profit, says Thomas Prescott, CEO of Align Technology. He quotes Clayton Christensen who advises entrepreneurs to, "Be patient for growth; don't be patient for profitability." Know from the onset how the company can be scaled and how it will be exited. Prescott says this is the difference between a company with longevity and one with simply an interesting product.
Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh discusses his reasoning behind selling his company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft. Hsieh explains how working at a startup remained fun, based on hiring passionate friends. However, after reaching the 20-employee mark, startup growing pains made selling a good idea.
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