Bamboo is an amazing plant. Can you believe it can grow 47 inches in a single day? That’s nearly two inches an hour. WOW! Fast enough for you to be able to see it, visibly grow.
The two keywords from the above paragraph are ‘can grow’.
Despite the potential for growth, without the correct blend of environmental factors, the growth of the bamboo is diminished. It takes many things to achieve fast bamboo growth; sunlight, water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, the correct humidity, the right temperature range and balanced nutritional elements from the soil. If the mixture and composition of those essential elements are a long way off from the ideal, then it can kill the plant completely.
This is the same for a software company.
To achieve fast growth, the software company must have the correct mixture and composition of some essential elements.
And that’s why over the past three years we’ve been working hard to decipher what those essential elements are…
The ‘Fast Growth’ Software Study
For the past three years, we have been conducting a study called the ‘Bamboo Report’. The name Bamboo came about because initially, we were only looking at the high-speed growth companies that had quickly grown from nothing to over $1B in valuation in less than ten years.
However, as the study progressed, and we started to see the number of data points we needed, it was evident that the number of software unicorn companies ($1B+) available was just not enough.
At that time, there were just under 50 fast-growth software unicorns with that rate of growth (today there is over 109). That ignores the established giants like Microsoft or SAP etc. as we were looking only for newly founded companies who were growing really fast and gone over the $1B mark.
That was not enough companies to be statistically viable for the research. So we also included just over 350 of the fastest growing software companies that were smaller than the unicorns but were still none-the-less highly successful and growing fast. So
Firstly, I need to point out; this was not a three-year study that just stopped; this is ongoing research and involves currently 465 fast-growth software companies. The software industry moves fast, and we need to track those changes. This research needs to be continuous.
Here are three fascinating things we’ve learned from this study that have helped them grow so rapidly:
Growth Factor One: Do You Excel In These Critical Areas?
One of the most important things to understand is that rapid growth is not easy. If fast growth involved just being excellent at one thing, then it would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
You have to have balance and excellence in several critical areas. I know from over two decades of meeting software founders, CEO’s and senior executives that the executive leaders I meet all have a personality with their specific interests and experiences and talents. The profile of the businesses they manage are created in their own likeness.
So for instance, I know that if the CEO comes from a technical background and enjoys the technology aspects of the business then when I look at their business, I will find a very ‘techy’ company. What that means is that it’s a company that’s main focus will be continual technical improvement, research and development and they will have a strong bias towards numbers of technical employees. Conversations with the senior executives also typically get very technical very quickly.
Twenty or thirty years ago competition was not as fierce. Software technology businesses could dress a chimpanzee up in a suit and give him a briefcase, and he would probably come back with some sales. Buy not today. In just the last five years software competition has more than tripled.
The technical businesses need to have a much wider range of skills and talents if they want to compete in today’s marketplace. There has be much better balance in all the key business operational areas. Investment must be made into marketing, sales, customer research, design and customer experience etc. Without it you wont be competitive. The bar has risen and it wont be coming down to meet your level, it just keeps being nudged higher.
Growth Factor Two: Developing Great Software Is NOT Pivotal To Your Success
Being highly skilled at developing excellent software is NOT a pivotal point for your success!! OK now take a deep breath and relax………. I know that may upset you to dare suggest such a thing. However, software development excellence is not a critical winning strategy; it is a given. Excellent software is the very minimum you need. If your company is not able to do that, shut-up shop now and go open a pizza parlour.
What you need along-side software development and is even more influential in your success is to be a superb communication company. You have to be able to communicate at a level of excellence. In the past, this was not the case, but now with so many more competitors, the bar has risen, and there is no choice. Learn to communicate with excellence or get out of the game.
Growth Factor Three: Do you have a great prospect journey?
The Prospect CSX Is What The Top 1% Of Companies Use To Get Ahead. The journey you design for your prospects to become clients needs to feel seamless and natural. The difference between the top 1% of companies who know how to do this and their less successful counterparts is massive. It’s an essential part of software business success that is often relegated way too far down the priority list.
I want to make this statement clear so that everybody reading this article understands. I want to leave no room for misunderstanding. If you don’t make the design of your prospect journey a top priority, then you will never be a fast-growth software company.
But It Ain’t That Simple
As you can imagine in a sector that is so competitive, the elements of success are not something you can cover in their entirety on the back of a beer mat. However, the points above are a flying first three steps in your 100-metre sprint. I say sprint because in today’s software sector it moves so fast you can’t take too long to make changes, or you will be watching the race instead of competing in the race.
Do You Want More Insights From Our Study?
If you have found this article interesting, then please do connect with me here on LinkedIn.
Just send me a brief message and mention you would like the link to the fast growth audio’.
All the best