What does it take to go beyond the better and become the best? How does a technology-based firm that has achieved some degree of success go on to the realm of "super-success"? This chapter tries to identify the strategic actions needed through an intensive investigation of high-technology companies in the Greater Boston area that had already survived for at least five years and had attained sufficient sales to be deemed by many as successful. The evidence supports the notion that to find super-success most high- technology firms must transform themselves toward a marketing oriented strategy.
Strategic aspects of high-technology companies are perhaps the least developed area of academic entrepreneurship research. The studies carried out thus far go beyond the nonstrategic correlates of success discussed in Chapter 9: demographic and personal characteristics of the entrepreneur, venture capital and other financing considerations, sales/ marketing activities of the young firm. For example, the analyses of product strategy described in Chapter 10 fit into this overall strategic dimension. Other recent strategic research on technology-based entrepreneurial firms are of several types: overall corporate strategies or marketing strategies; organization structures; decision making processes; and executive influences. Tushman and Romanelli ( 1985) present a useful overview of many of the issues treated, linking the disparate literatures on organizational evolution, executive leadership, and strategic reorientation.
Romanelli ( 1987) and Eisenhardt and Schoonhoven ( 1989) note the persistence of early strategies among high-technology firms. Sandberg ( 1986) finds that early-stage entrants in an industry need to employ different strategies from later-stage entrants. Smith and Fleck ( 1987) find some high-technology firms lacking explicit long-term plans but behaving consistently as highly specialized niche-market players, trying to preserve founder financial control. Slevin and Covin ( 1987) com-