Most startups die right before they enter hyper-growth. Steve Blank shares his perspectives on how companies can cross the chasm.
This article is by Steve Blank, entrepreneur, author and one of the founders of the Lean Startup movement.
Recently, I got a call from Patrick, an ex-student I hadn’t heard from for 8 years. He's now the CEO of a company and wanted to talk about what he admitted was a “first world” problem. Over breakfast he got me up to date on his life since school (two non-CEO roles at startups), but he wanted to talk about his third startup —the one he and two other co-founders had most recently started.
“We’re at 70 people, and we’ll do $40 million in revenue this year and should get to cash flow breakeven this quarter,” he said. It sounded like he was living the dream. I was trying to figure out why we were meeting. But then he told me all about the tough decisions, the pivots and firing his best friend, which he had to do to get to where he was. In short, he had been through heck and back.
“I made it this far,” he said. "My board bet on me to take it to scale. I’m going to double my headcount in the next 3 quarters. The problem is where’s the playbook? There were plenty of books for what to do as a startup, and lots of advice for what to do if I was running a large public company, but there’s nothing that describes how to deal with the issues of growing a company. I feel like I’m just driving without a roadmap. What should I be reading or doing?”
I explained to Patrick that startups go through a series of steps before they become a large company, and that he was smack in the middle of two big ones. Read more: http://snip.ly/0fEt
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