Whether it’s your first business plan, or you’re mulling your latest business ruse, I always advise aspiring entrepreneurs to check out these "Elements of Sustanable Companies" from Sequoia Capital.
I know, I know, there are millions of self-appointed experts brandishing "how to start a business" advice. But trust us, Sequoia is the Supermama of early-stage investors, having spotted and invested in the likes of Apple, Yahoo, Google and YouTube as start-ups.
So trust us, this is pure gold. Good luck with the new venture.
Sequoia’s Elements of Sustainable Companies
Start-ups with these characteristics often foretells the success of a business and the likelihood of it becoming a sustainable, enduring company. We like to partner with companies that have:
Clarity of PurposeSummarize the company’s business on the back of a business card.
Large MarketsAddress existing markets poised for rapid growth or change. A market on the path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins to develop.
Rich CustomersTarget customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.
FocusCustomers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.
Pain KillersPick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.
Think DifferentlyConstantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.
Team DNAA company’s DNA is set in the first 90 days. All team members are the smartest or most clever in their domain. "A" level founders attract an "A" level team.
AgilityStealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.
FrugalityFocus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.
InfernoStart with only a little money. It forces discipline and focus. A huge market with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers requires very little firepower.
There’s more brilliant Sequoia advice on writing a business plan here.