Sequoia has a great list on the Elements of Sustainable Companies. A worthwhile read:
1. Clarity of Purpose
Summarize the company’s business on the back of a business card.
2. 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.
3. Rich Customers
Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.
Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.
5. Pain Killers
Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.
6. Think Differently
Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.
7. 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.
Stealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.
Focus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.
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.
source: SEQUOIA CAPITAL