This is Sean Murphy for SKMurphy, Inc. I want to talk to you about our startup stages model and understanding that risk reducing milestones that separate each stage.
We break the startup journey into five stages. In each stage you will explore different options and converge on a key risk reducing milestone. Starting from idea or formation, moving through open for business, early customers, finding your niche, and scaling up.
In the Idea and Formation stage you are searching for a customer need, a problem solution fit, and a team. You know you are done when you have a problem that energizes a team that is mutually accountable and jointly capable.
In the Open for Business stage you are searching for a business model and proof of value. This allows you to formalize the team commitment and make firm offers at a price.
In the Early Customer stage you are searching for proven value, and the proof is that customers actually pay you, not just tell you that they will pay, they actually pay. That’s only possible once you are set up and are able to transact business.
In the Finding Your Niche stage you now have a target customer type that you are going to select from customers that you have already done business with who reference each other’s buy decisions. You need to learn the domain language of that specific customer set and learn how to find similar customers.
In the Scaling Up stage you are now looking for product scale. This requires that you have a repeatable scalable process, that you can identify additional niche markets , and identify additional opportunities. What was heroic has to become routine. Now you are adding employees who are specialists.
In each stage we see this same pattern of exploration and convergence. You are going to look at many options and then converge on key solutions.
Thank you, this has been Sean Murphy for SKMurphy, Inc. We help technology firms find early customers and early revenue.