Elements of Sustainable Companies

I came across this great list of attributes that are critical to the success of a start-up. Check these out:

  • Clarity of Purpose – Summarize the company’s business on the back of a business card. Interesting test of how clear your objectives and targets are.
  • Large Markets – Address 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. For example, demand for woolen knitwear for pets is pretty small, while the life insurance quote market is huge
  • Rich Customers – Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.
  • Focus – Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.
  • Pain Killers – Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.
  • Think Differently – Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.
  • Team DNA – A 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.
  • Agility – Stealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.
  • Frugality – Focus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.
  • Inferno – Start 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.

That’s the list that Sequoia Capital look for in companies they invest in. Thanks to Techcrunch for the pointer. So, if your company fits this description does that mean that you’re all set for success? Unfortunately, nothing is certain, but companies fitting this profile are more likely to succeed than anyone else. Does your startup fit this model?

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