Experiencing Inertia and Uncertainty in Starting and Growing Your Business?

Starting and growing a company isn’t a paint-by-numbers endeavor that happens at the speed of light if you just hustle. High growth success isn’t that simple, that fast, or that smooth of a ride. The Hockey Stick Principles shows you how to navigate each stage of growth — especially The Blade Years — why challenges arise, how to solve them, and how to move through each stage more smoothly.

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Is hockey stick growth feasible?

Take a look at these startups' revenue growth charts. The companies are different sizes and from a wide range of industries, yet their revenue growth follows a predictable pattern. In my study of 172 startups, all but eleven companies had hockey stick-shaped growth curves. As a startup entrepreneur, you should aim for hockey-stick growth and also be aware of the challenges presented at each stage.

Don’t worry about hockey stick projections' naysayers

Founders showing off a slide deck of optimistic forecasts to prospective investors have done a disservice to the hockey stick metaphor, and plenty of industry pundits have maligned it unfairly (Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Feld Thoughts). But my study shows that a hockey-stick growth pattern for innovative startups is real, and that aiming for hockey-stick growth, while being aware of the predictable stages of growth, is exactly what successful entrepreneurs should do.


Kudos for The Hockey Stick Principles

Bobby Martin

About Bobby

I have cofounded two startups with hockey stick revenue growth: First Research (1999) and Vertical IQ (2011). First Research was sold to D&B in 2007. I’m also an angel investor but lately I’ve been obsessed with studying how good ideas become successful companies.

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How Raving Success Can Lead to a Tired, Tarnished Brand

As your company grows, don’t let it become “tired.” As a youngster growing up in Raleigh North Carolina, my down-home college team was the N.C. State Wolfpack. My buddy Byron’s father had season tickets in the charming Reynolds Coliseum. Hardly sophisticated, it was more like an old-school gym than a modern basketball facility. The place […]

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A Crash Course in Startup Jargon

With subcultures come jargon. Every group from snowboarders to computer programmers to musicians has lingo that is native to the culture, though to outsiders, it sounds like a foreign language. I often meet 20-something investment bankers on airplanes. When I ask what they do for a living, they look put out and say, “I trade […]

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How Successful Entrepreneurs Make Their Own Luck

I interviewed dozens upon dozens of successful founders for my book, The Hockey Stick Principles. I learned so much from these amazingly successful people, but in all of those conversations, the advice that stuck with me the most came from Bob Young, the founder of Red Hat Software, Lulu, and most-recently PrecisionHawk. Bob believes that […]

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