The editorial theme for this issue of the OSBR is Growing Business. Authors from academia and industry share their research and experiences on how to grow a successful business in a world that is increasingly embracing open source. They provide growth strategies that leverage the advantages of open source, and blueprints for company activities that lead to growth in revenue. The issue provides lessons on how to leverage an open source product as the keystone of a company; how to engage an open source community to support a company's growth; selecting a growth strategy that is best depending on the company's core business; and, the challenges that startups face as they start to grow.
As always, we encourage readers to share articles of interest with their colleagues, and to provide their comments either online or directly to the authors.
The editorial theme for the upcoming July issue of the OSBR is Go to Market and the guest editor will be Corien Kershey. Submissions are due by June 20--contact the Editor if you are interested in a submission.
Growth is important for any business, especially technology companies that operate in an environment of constant innovation, advancement, and evolving consumer needs. It is essential to maintain long term profitability, develop a brand, and attract new investment. But the path to successful growth is not obvious, and is filled with hurdles. Growth requires capital, making consistent revenue a necessity. But figuring out the smartest way to invest capital to promote growth can be a daunting task. Growth can also require some experimentation with different stategies, weathering the occasional failure along the way, in order to find one that is the right fit for the company. But where do you start?
Book stores have hundreds of books on business growth, with many promising a surefire strategy for success. But the reality is that there is no single growth formula that works for all businesses. Entrepreneurs must understand what drives their business--something that might be very different from other, similar businesses--and leverage this knowledge in order to grow. Growth requires focus, and energy must be directed on one particular aspect at a time, such as revenue growth, market growth, product line growth, or even shareholder growth. Trying to extend in all directions at once is a sure path to failure. Disciplined, incremental, consistent growth is the formula for success, no matter how that success is defined by the business.
Tony Bailetti, Director of Ontario's Talent First Network, discusses a novel strategy for growing the revenue of technology companies and startups through active participation in a business ecosystem. He introduces a blueprint to grow revenue, an inventory of growth formulas, and briefly defines business ecosystems, keystones and platforms. He then describes the business ecosystem approach to grow revenue, comparing it to traditional approaches and identifying when the business ecosystem approach works better, as well as the benefits and risks of implementing the business ecosystem approach. He highlights the differences between business ecosystems and development communities and outsourcing.
Mekki MacAulay, Principal of OSStrategy.org, outlines seven strategies that use open source to grow revenue and provides examples of successful implementations for each.
Tomas Marko, a researcher for Lead to Win, describes the challenges that entrepreneurs in startup companies must overcome in order to grow successfully. He examines both the risks and benefits of growth as well as the importance of short and long term strategic planning.
Ram Mohan, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Afilias, tells the story behind Afilias' continuous growth and the open source product and community that were leveraged to support it. His article also examines the importance of partnering with and actively contributing to an open source project to support the growth of both the project and the company.
Tarus Balog, CEO of The OpenNMS Group, answers a question frequently asked of open source proponents: namely, how to make money with open source. He describes the successful model used by the OpenNMS Group to generate sustainable revenue for growth, while focusing on open source.