A Self-Assessment: Are You Working on the Right Risks?

Take our self-assessment to verify that your team is working on the right risks. Identify the capabilities you need to develop next.

A Self-Assessment: Are You Working on the Right Risks?

Our focus at SKMurphy is on teams of two to five engineers or scientists who are bootstrapping to develop a product for business. The bootstrapping process may involve developing content that describes the problem they solve, offering services that help clients solve the same problem that their product addresses, or offering a product for sale.

We usually see them go through five distinct startup stages of evolution: idea and team formation, open for business, early customers, finding a niche, and scaling up. We have made our Startup Maturity Checklist available as an interactive quiz you can take to understand:

  • What stage your team has reached in your entrepreneurial journey.
  • Which set of risks are the most appropriate areas of focus to make forward progress.
  • What capabilities do you need to need develop next–alternatively what missing capabilities are holding you back.

SKMurphy Office Hours: Are You Working on the Right Risks?You can take it at B2B: Are You Working on the Right Risks? You do not have to supply an email address: you will see the results directly in your browser window. Please note that some of the questions test for poor approaches, so clicking yes to everything will not lead to a great result.  If you like,  you can supply an email address to share the results with us and then schedule a no-cost office hours session to review your results and plan your next steps.

SKMurphy Startup Stages Model

Formation ICON The Idea and Team Formation stage starts with one or more ideas and may end with a team formed around a working consensus on how to evaluate the technical and market feasibility of the idea(s).
Open for Business ICON In the Open for Business stage, you have a business ownership structure, and you have the necessary documents and tools in place to transact business: business license, Federal Tax ID, software license agreement, etc…
Early Customers ICON Early Customer stage is where you develop your first customers. First sales are generally to friends who know and trust you. These customers can act as a reference for future customers.
Niche ICON The next stage, Find Your Niche, is where you find a core set of customers and establish your first niche. These core customers reference each other’s buy decisions and act as useful references for additional customers.
Scaling Up ICON In the Scaling Up stage, you grow a sustainable business by growing your core customer base and expanding into new niches. Cash flow has become more stable and predictable. You need to expand from a small team of generalists to a collection of specialists.

The self-assessment looks at capabilities in three broad areas that correspond to the need to establish your product’s feasibility, desirability, and viability (profitability). These areas are

  • Product Development efforts that explore and hopefully substantiate your product’s feasibility.
  • Customer Development efforts that investigate customer needs and your product’s desirability in addressing them.
  • Business Operations efforts that enable you establish your business, offer a product for sale, and scale up.

You can take the self-assessment at B2B: Are You Working on the Right Risks?

Update Nov-4-2019: we have upgraded to a better quiz platform and made some improvements to the quiz, we welcome any feedback, you are also encouraged to schedule an office hours session if you want help mapping out your action plan.

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When we started SKMurphy in 2003 we worked on a series of “startup maturity models” to help teams better understand where they were in their journey, which set of risks were the most appropriate areas of focus to make forward progress, and to help them identify missing achievements or capabilities that were the most likely to hold them back. This interactive version refines and extends earlier paper-and-pencil versions that we have used in talks, workshops, and consulting engagements for the last 16 years.

Image Credit: “Oriental Maze” by gordond licensed from 123RF (Image ID : 34697115)

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