How to Survive From A Startup To An Enterprise
Originally published: 18/11/2019 11:26
Publication number: ELQ-60226-1
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How to Survive From A Startup To An Enterprise

Entrepreneurs usually focus on their innovative product, but often scaling their business is tougher, learn how!

Introduction

Early-stage entrepreneurs rightly keep their focus on creating an innovative product or service. After celebrating success at that level, they often find themselves ill-prepared to move to the next stage, for scaling their business into a high-performing enterprise. That’s where I see too much entrepreneur burnout, growth plateaus, and founders being replaced, to their chagrin.


By definition, second-stage ventures generally have 10 to 99 employees and/or $750,000 to $50 million in revenue, and see that as just the beginning. Of course, not every entrepreneur wants to tackle this challenge. According to one study a while back, only 45% of founders plan to exit after stage one, and my guess is that less than half the remainder survive the next stage in their own company.


If you are one of the many entrepreneurs who aspire to get beyond the “art of the start,” there are some proven principles to follow. In his classic book, “Second Stage Entrepreneurship,” Daniel J. Weinfurter, talks about making the leap a couple of times himself, and the perspective he gained from many years of consulting with other companies who have done the same.
I like the ten steps he outlines, which I characterize here as follows:

  • Step n°1 |

    Seek major capital infusion.

    Very few startups are cash-rich enough to self-finance aggressive second-stage growth. They need a large infusion from venture capitalists, private equity, bank loans, or mezzanine financing. Of course, that means a new level of risk, giving up some control, and a new business plan. There is no free lunch.

    How to Survive From A Startup To An Enterprise image
  • Step n°2 |

    Install a real board of directors.

    Most entrepreneurs are mavericks, and their passion drove their new business. But to scale the business, they need the complementary expertise, experience, connections, oversight, and new capital connections of a formal board of directors. Recruiting, compensating, and engaging the board is a critical priority.

    How to Survive From A Startup To An Enterprise image
  • Step n°3 |

    Focus on creativity more than smashing competitors.

    To achieve second-stage growth you need to stay at the top of your creative game, more than a focus on beating competitors. Growth is more than simply repackaging existing products, and adding bells and whistles or slick incentives. Keep delivering something new and fresh.

    How to Survive From A Startup To An Enterprise image
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