Do you remember being 8 or 9 years old and thinking to yourself ‘when I’m 16 I’ll be a grown up’? Only for 16 to come along and instigate the same internal monologue ‘when I’m 20…’ Until suddenly you’re pushing 30 and wondering ‘is this what it feels like?!’ Yeah, I hear ya.
Well, it’s the same for your startup; it’s hard to know exactly when it’s become a full fledged grown up…
Is it when your company name trends on twitter?
Or maybe when your bank manager turns his frown upside down?
Perhaps when your team of 2 turns into 10?
Or simply when you start to make a profit?
Startups are the cool kids of business, everyone wants to be one but no-one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. Startups make mistakes, lots of them – but they’re forgiven for it because they’re newbies and because you simply don’t know who the next Zuckerberg is. Burning bridges with entrepreneurs is not a good idea, because when profits finally begin roll in their favor, you’ll have been out of it for a very long time.
That said, people grow up and so do businesses. Your start up can’t stay a baby forever, and with adulthood comes both power and responsibility (and least that’s what my school principal said – hey there Mr.Keaney!). So when do you know when you’ve reached that point? When do you finally become a mature and well executed (albeit often less fun 🙂 ) business?
Well, that’s up to you.
I’m a bit of a Peter Pan lover myself, and I think there’s a way to find a bit of both worlds – i.e. a legitimized business that still has fun and takes risks, but isn’t in danger of going bust tomorrow. Startups are edgy, innovative and daring, but many more ‘mature’ businesses can be dreary, boring and regimented. There is absolutely no reason to think that you can’t combine that startup atmosphere and creativity with a more structured business plan and vision – companies such as LinkedIn and various creative agencies do this very well.
So there’s no right or wrong answer to the question of transitioning your business into the ‘grown up’ phase; it really depends on your company culture and what you feel is the best move for you!
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