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3 Things Every Business Can Learn from Silicon Valley

Silicon ValleyMany of the world’s most successful companies, including Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Cisco and Salesforce were all born out of Silicon Valley. It’s not just because Silicon Valley attracts startups. Silicon Valley actually causes success, because of its culture.

Here are three of the core aspects to Silicon Valley culture that give these companies their edge…

Idea #1: Fail Often, Fail Fast

Trying to “get it right” is a recipe for disaster in business. The longer you wait before you execute, the more likely someone else will get in on the action before you. More importantly, it’s incredibly difficult to come up with a truly good plan in a vacuum. Most business plans and complex models get thrown out the window the moment the real world gets involved.

Instead of planning an idea to death, err on the side of quick execution. Be OK with failure. In fact, assume you need a certain amount of failure before success. Your goal then should be to fail often and fail quickly. If you do, success will inevitably follow. Give yourself and your team permission to try ideas quickly and to make mistakes.

Idea #2: Top Talent is Worth Fighting For

In Silicon Valley, there’s a constant bidding war for top engineers. Google starts with free food. Facebook counters with free food and laundry. Google has free haircuts. Salesforce lets you work from home. So on and so forth.

Companies in Silicon Valley know that the success or failure of a company depends entirely on talent. Without top talent, you can’t build a top company. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t be afraid to fight for your talent. Do what you need to do to attract the best. Go to conferences. Poach from competitors. Make competitive offers. Have unusual perks. Create an attractive culture. Make talent acquisition a core part of your business strategy.

Idea #3: Build for an Exit

Almost every company in Silicon Valley is built with the exit (sale) in mind. Some are building for an acquisition, while others are aiming for an IPO. Building a company with the exit in mind is crucial for building a company that’s foundationally solid. Even if you never plan to sell, you should still build your company as if you planning on a big exit.

Companies that plan on selling need to keep good financial records. They need to have systems to run each part of the business, instead of running things ad hoc. There’ll be company procedures and process manuals. In other words, an actual corporation is created, instead of a “run it as it runs” business. Naturally, the former is far more likely to succeed.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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