Let miracles happen to us
When I was a child, I often heard a saying from my elders: Those who go to school are thicker than ox hair, and those who pass the exam are thinner than ox horns. This was decades ago. At that time, it was very difficult to get into college.
I think this sentence is also appropriate for entrepreneurs. A large number of companies are founded every year, but only a handful can obtain venture capital, enter the capital market, and attract the attention of the media and the public.
I once saw a set of statistics: About 1 million companies go bankrupt in China every year, an average of 2 companies every minute. Among the more than 40 million small and medium-sized enterprises, less than 7% have survived for more than 5 years, and less than 2% have survived for more than 10 years. It doesn’t matter what the exact statistics are, but in any case, success, especially big success, is a small probability event. Therefore, we can also apply a sentence, starting a business is thicker than an ox’s hair, and being successful is thinner than an ox’s horns. But as long as you keep your feet on the ground, proceed step by step, and go step by step, you may be able to create miracles.
In fact, many miracles are born this way.
When Zuckerberg founded Facebook, he was just a taciturn college sophomore. He wrote the first line of Facebook source code on his computer in a college dormitory called Kirkland. The original purpose of his creation of this website was to let his classmates vote for who is the “school belle” and “school belle” of Harvard University. However, after more than ten years, Facebook has become the largest social networking site in the world, with more than 1.5 billion users and a market value of more than 500 billion US dollars.
On February 4, 2004, Facebook went online. Soon, this website gained the favor of Harvard University students. After occupying an absolute advantage in the narrow market of Harvard University, Facebook began to expand to universities around Boston and other Ivy League universities, and then to high schools and companies. It was not open to all users until September 11, 2006. Step by step, what was then a small business has developed into a corporate empire.
Peter Thiel once reviewed the entrepreneurial history of PayPal this way: When PayPal was founded, there were only 24 users, all of whom were employees of PayPal.
They believe that advertising to attract customers is too costly. Therefore, PayPal pays registered users directly and then gives users profits to invite partners to register. This strategy reduces PayPal’s customer acquisition cost to $20 per customer and guarantees a 7% daily growth rate. This means that users can double every 10 days. In this way, after 4-5 months, they have thousands of users.
Later, they found themselves a super user – eBay, and they embarked on the fast track of development. In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for US$1.5 billion. As of today, PayPal’s market value has exceeded US$80 billion. Starting from scratch and growing into a unicorn company in a short time, it seems that miracles always happen inadvertently.
There are not miracles in this world. It’s just that miracles always happen in places we can’t imagine and in ways we can’t imagine. How can we make miracles happen to us? How to find a way to the future? How to choose the most effective business strategy? How to create your own business model? This is a question that all operators who are unwilling to settle for mediocrity must think about.
Imitation is a necessary step for innovation
How to quickly establish an effective business model? The simplest way is to learn from others and copy the gourd. The biggest advantage of doing this is that you can base your own growth on the experience of others, saving you a lot of time and giving yourself a relatively high starting point.
I have noticed that many outstanding companies have such a characteristic: they achieve innovation through imitation and achieve transcendence through plagiarism. Tencent President Ma Huateng once said: “I want to incorporate all Internet business models into Tencent.” Successful people have the characteristic of embracing all rivers.
Weber, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Apollo lunar landing program, said: “There was not a single new invention in the Apollo program. The technologies were all ready-made. The key lies in synthesis.” There was not a single new invention in such a huge lunar landing project, but people considered it The combination of existing technologies has accomplished something unprecedented.
Xiaomi’s learning targets are very diverse. In Lei Jun’s words: “Learn from Tongrentang, emphasizing real materials to make good products; learn from Haidilao, be friends with users, and interact with users; learn from Wal-Mart, operate efficiently, control your own costs, and shorten the intermediate time. link, so that your price can be sold directly at a price close to cost.”
Jiuxian.com is a liquor e-commerce company that has emerged in China in the past few years. The business model of Jiuxian.com consists of four parts: the first is the online supermarket, the second is about brand operations, the third is the wine coming soon, and the fourth is the alcohol brand on the Internet created by Jiuxian.com. Founder Hao Hongfeng pointed out: “Taken separately, no business unit is unique to Jiuxian.com. There are a lot of articles in the world, and so is the business model.” On the other hand, putting these business units together is also a huge business in itself. Innovation.
We are familiar with examples of large domestic companies: Haier’s technology comes from Germany, Vanke’s model is the American Pardi Company, Shanda Games learned from Koreans, etc. This is also the case for large foreign companies.
What Japanese companies are best at is so-called “improvement.” Semiconductor technology was invented by the Americans, but it was carried forward by the Japanese; Japan did not invent TV, but made the TV thinner; Japan did not invent the car, but made the car smaller…
Another example is South Korea’s Samsung. What it adopts is a strategy of copying and imitating. Samsung does not develop products from beginning to end, but uses money to buy technology. After buying it, further improvements and innovations will be made. Lee Kun-hee said: “If you pay 100 million won, you can obtain the technology in a week. If you insist on investing 1 billion won, and it will take three to five years to develop, it is a waste. It doesn’t matter if you pay 5% of the technology fee. As long as it can create 10% of the benefits and profits.”
Another example is the American Apple Company. As one of the most commercially successful companies today, its products and technologies are not all original. Hiroshi Mitani, the author of “The Complete History of Business Models” pointed out: “The originator of tablet computers should be the PenPiont (GO) launched in 1991, the earliest smartphone should be the Nokia 9000 Conmmnicator developed by Nokia in 1996, and the Blueberry RM in 1999 It triggered a smartphone craze. As for digital music players, after manufacturers led by Sony went through a scuffle, Apple was late to the game. The same is true for iTunes. Major companies began to use the Internet a few years ago. Release music. Therefore, from a company strategy perspective, Jobs is not innovating, but upgrading old things and re-inventing them.”
Du Fu, a poet in the Tang Dynasty, once had a poem: “Don’t be a pseudo-style professing elegance, Zhuan Yiduo is your master. .”What does that mean? Only by studying the strengths of each school eclectically can you truly find your own teacher. Hou Baolin, the master of cross talk, said it well: “Only for nourishment, not for imitation.” Learning from others is not to do exactly what others do, but to enrich, develop and perfect yourself.
Try boldly, but not blindly
Of course, to truly find your own path and create your own business model, learning and imitation alone are not enough. Sometimes, you have to find new ways and innovate.
Innovation, first of all, means taking a new path. To take a new path, you must first exhaust all possibilities and know where the new path is. In the words of Mr. Hu Shi, it is called a bold assumption. However, all innovation also comes with risks and costs. Be extremely careful because there are risks and costs. In the words of Mr. Hu Shi, it is called careful verification.
Bold assumptions and careful verification, added together, are the so-called attempts and experiments. In this way, you can not only enjoy the benefits of innovation, but also control the risks of innovation and reduce the cost of innovation. At Tencent, Ma Huateng once asked three famous questions about business development: Are you good at this new field? What will users lose if you don’t? If so, how much competitive advantage can you maintain in this new project? His senior management team interpreted these three questions as: make bold assumptions, carefully verify, and do what is most certain.
In 1941, when Mao Zedong was studying the book “Tutorial on Dialectical Materialism” co-authored by Soviet philosophers Silokov, Eisenberg and others, he wrote this comment: “In the process of understanding, tactics determine strategy; in the process of practice, , Strategy determines tactics.”
The pony wanted to cross the river. Some said the water was very deep, while others said the water was very shallow. what to do? You can give it a try. If you don’t give it a try, you won’t know the depth of the water, and you won’t know which way to go. To give it a try is to give it a try tactically. Walking through it is a major strategic decision.
We can look back at the history of The Coca-Cola Company. In the early 1980s, it concentrated on a series of major business ventures. These attempts include diversification, Columbia Pictures, New Coca-Cola, acquisition of bottlers, foreign expansion, etc. Later we all learned that most of these attempts failed, and some failed even a little ridiculously, but this cannot be said to be meaningless. If you don’t give it a try, who knows if it will work?
How can we gain strategic understanding without tactical probing?
Some people summarize China’s experience in reform and opening up as the “two trials method.” The so-called “two-trial method” refers to the pilot method and the trial-and-error method. Because we have pilot projects, we dare to try and make mistakes. Political scientist Wu Jiaxiang said that the “two-test approach” is the most important magic weapon for the success of China’s economic reform. These words are still very profound.
Of course, attempts and experiments must have a direction and be consistent with the company’s mission and vision. In the words of Zeng Ming, chairman of the Academic Committee of Alibaba Group, “disciplined and purposeful trial and error” must be carried out. Through trial and error, future assumptions must be constantly verified and adjusted until the “mapping point” of the future on today is found. Only by starting from this point can we most likely realize our future ideals. Pilots and experiments can help enterprises identify directions, grasp key points, and formulate methods.
After the pilots and tests are successful, we must not stop there and must pursue the victory. Methods and models must be fixed and quickly promoted within the system. It is necessary to use expansion factors to establish a positive cycle and rapidly expand business results. Clear direction, flexible methods and decisive actions are all indispensable.
Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world. Wal-Mart’s approach is: “Try many experiments, seize opportunities, retain the parts that work well (and are in line with the core concept), and modify or abandon the parts that don’t work well.” As a senior executive at Wal-Mart said: “Our motto is Act, correct, try, and if something you try works, keep it, if it doesn’t, correct it, or try something else.”
Make room for miracles to happen
Innovation is of great value, and experimentation and experimentation are of great significance. This is a common understanding. But innovation cannot solve all problems, and trial and error are not enough to explore all paths.
There is a difficulty that all enterprises can never overcome: they are often faced with many choices, and they don’t know which one is the right way, and no one can tell them which one is the right way. What’s even worse is that it’s impossible to walk all the roads.
Many people, not just managers, have a deep-rooted tendency to try to find a best solution or an optimal path and solve the problem once and for all. In fact, the so-called best solution or optimal path does not exist at all. Obsessively pursuing the optimal solution and trying to solve the problem once and for all is either paranoia or laziness. Doing so would put the company in a very dangerous position.
From a philosophical perspective, things are always developing and things are always changing. The effect of one thing may be the cause of another thing, and thus lead to another effect. The outcome of this incident is not important, but due to the chain reaction, the subsequent consequences it leads to may be important. Therefore, the value and impact of something must be evaluated over a long enough period of time. In fact, human cognitive abilities have boundaries. Some things, especially things on large time scales, often exceed the boundaries of human cognitive ability. Therefore, no one can guarantee that the current choice must be the best choice, and the current plan must be the best plan. The best answer, the best path, is probably somewhere we can’t see.
Therefore, we must be in awe of things that we cannot see through. We must maintain a broad perspective and not shut ourselves up. You need to keep enough room and don’t make all the stops. And, not only do you have to keep enough options, but you also have to stick with it long enough. Only in this way can there be room for miracles to happen.
Some people comment that Samsung is a company that lacks strategic orientation. Because it always makes long bets without clear goals and directions. They have used almost all smartphone operating systems and have developed their own operating systems; they have used third-party chips and developed similar chips themselves. Bet on the long side and take whatever path is feasible and smooth. So, how to reduce costs and obtain profits? Samsung supports the high selling price of its products through the best possible craftsmanship, product quality and huge marketing investment.
In July 1959, during the Lushan Conference, Mao Zedong said this when talking to his secretary Li Rui and others: “There is no prophet in the world, and there is no Liu Bowen who knew five hundred years before and five hundred years later. It’s nothing more than being wise and making decisions with room for leeway.” The common people said, “You don’t know which cloud will cause rain”, so “you can’t hang yourself from a tree.” Another thing that can ruin a company’s future is too much focus. “Focus, perfection, word-of-mouth, and speed” are the “seven-character formula” for Internet entrepreneurship summarized by Lei Jun. His statement was recognized by many people.
In this “seven-character formula”, concentration is ranked first. The benefits of focus are obvious. Concentration certainly means focusing, which is conducive to enhancing one’s own strength, but being too focused will limit one’s vision and structure, causing people to miss some opportunities. And no one can rule out that these opportunities are important opportunities for future development.
Of course, it can’t be too spread out. Being too dispersed will weaken the intensity of doing things and tackling difficult problems, affect the current development of the company, and may also cause major setbacks and cause heavy losses.
The road to success has a common characteristic. It can not only provide immediate benefits and ensure our survival, but also create unlimited possibilities and lay a good foundation for the next development.
Good patterns are all polished
In the autobiography “Put Your Heart In” by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, there is this sentence: “If you study a butterfly based on aerodynamics, it is impossible for it to fly. It is precisely because the butterfly does not understand this principle, So it flew.”
Why do butterflies fly? Is it because it understands aerodynamics? Certainly not. Why? First, because it has this potential. Secondly, it is the result of continuous efforts, continuous attempts, and continuous practice. The fact that butterflies can fly has nothing to do with reason and logic, but has to do with instinct and perseverance.
Some paths have been taken by others and we find them simple; some models have been made by others and we find them easy. In fact, that’s not the case at all. It’s not that these patterns are difficult to understand, but that their exploration and groping process are very difficult. When ordinary people speak, they are wise after the fact and like pigs before the fact. Many things may seem simple afterwards, but they were not easy to do at the time. Because many things are intricate, intricate, ever-changing, and there are too many options. As a party involved, it is not easy to make the right choice.
Many things may look like a road in hindsight, but may seem like a pitfall at the time. It may also be that it was originally a road, but if you can’t get out of it, it really becomes a pit. Or maybe it was originally a pit, but once you get out of it, it really becomes a road.
At that time, no one was optimistic about Alibaba’s model, but after it emerged, it became a path and an example for many people to follow. JD.com is taking a completely different path from Alibaba. At the time, many people said it was a trap. But today it has come out, and it has become a path and an example for many people to follow.
Most of us are mere mortals, and the future looms dark before us. No one knows in advance which path will lead or which model will succeed. Therefore, the process of exploring the road and building a model is both difficult and complicated.
Some people say that when the rocket is flying to the moon, it spends 97% of the time adjusting its direction and orbit, and only 3% of the time it flies on the established orbit. The same is true for enterprises. Good models are the result of constant adjustments and revisions. Advancing through revision and improving through summary are probably the normal conditions of excellent enterprise management.
Building a business is like building a house. What kind of house you want to build requires what kind of materials you need to prepare. On the other hand, the materials you have also determine what kind of house you can build. It is difficult for a wise woman to make a meal without rice, and it is impossible to discuss business strategies and business models without resources and opportunities. If you talk about a business model without resources, the business model will be a castle in the air; if you talk about a business model without opportunities, the business model will be a mirage.
The formation of patterns is somewhat similar to the formation of large rivers. First there is a small ditch with flowing water. Because it can flow, the river will wash out the river bed wider and wider. The wider the river bed, the greater the flow of water that can pass through it. The greater the water flow, the wider the river bed will be. The flowing water interacts repeatedly with the river bed, and a large river is formed. A good model will bring more resources to the enterprise and create more opportunities. The increase in resources and opportunities will also make the existing model more mature, efficient and powerful.
Of course, no matter what business model you adopt, it takes time and persistence. Only by continuous persistence will there be accumulation, and resources and opportunities will accumulate more and more. When resources and opportunities accumulate to a certain extent, a specific operating structure will be formed. When the structure is optimized to a certain extent, a specific business model will be formed. A mature business model will help companies seize some development opportunities. Only by seizing development opportunities can we further accumulate resources and energy. This process is like a snowball, rolling bigger and faster. Inadvertently, a miracle occurred and a powerful enterprise emerged.
People like to hear extreme words, say extreme things, and do extreme things. “Xunzi·Lun Tian” says: “All things are deviated from the Tao, and one thing is deviated from all things. A fool thinks that he knows only one thing, but he is ignorant.” One-sidedness and a tendency to go to extremes are the most essential characteristics of human nature. .
I don’t agree with opportunism. That’s a headless fly, stumbling around blindly. I don’t agree with planningism either. You are not a proud man of heaven, how can God grant your wishes so easily?
I advocate planned opportunism. I don’t believe in the power of reason. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. I also don’t believe in the power of experience. Yesterday’s methods may not work today. I believe in the power of reason based on experience. Experience must be sorted out and sublimated to make it more reliable.
When it comes to business management, I don’t like to use words like design, plan, and planning. Because they don’t reflect the reality of business. I like to use words like development, evolution, and polishing. In a word, good models are polished.