Recently I was talking to an entrepreneur that was starting to make some early progress in his startup. With several dozen paying customers, it was clear that product-market fit was in place (see 5 Ways to Identify Product-Market Fit). The next step, a repeatable customer acquisition process, was still a ways out, but deals were coming in at a steady pace, albeit in low volume. Then, he said something that stuck with me:
I now know this business is going to work, and I’m settling in for at least five more years.
Steve Blank defines a startup as a “temporary organization searching for a repeatable and scalable business model.” For this entrepreneur, achieving early traction and gaining visibility into a repeatable sales model gave him the confidence to know the business is going work. Oh, and it’s taken over two years to get to this point. Only now, he knows it’s time to settle in for the long haul.
What else? How do you know when you’re on to something special that’s going to take many more years to materialize?