Updated: Jan 30
In our last post Knowing When to Crawl, Walk, & Run - The BOSS Startup Lifecycle, we discussed why it’s critical for young startups to accurately identify where they are in their maturity lifecycle, to avoid many of the common reasons for startup failure.
The BOSS Lifecycle is a methodical, scientific process for avoiding failure, and achieving successful outcomes. It was built using 25 years of successful investment and startup experience.
The BOSS Lifecycle has 7 phases: Vision, Product, Go-to-Market, Standardization, Optimization, Growth, and Exit.
The timeline to complete the journey -- from vision to exit -- is roughly three to five years. But every entrepreneur’s timeline will vary slightly.
In each phase, your objective is to achieve specific metrics or tangible outputs, prior to continuing your journey.
Depending on your company's financial resources, you may also need to secure investor funding before entering the next phase.
The BOSS lifecycle journey starts in the Vision phase by defining your Ecosystem, performing product ideation, and setting your strategic vision by building your North Star.
This is like putting your final destination in a GPS.
The North Star helps you avoid roadblocks, and plots the most efficient path to achieving your objectives. You’ll use your North Star to validate your vision and product ideation with your advisors, including industry experts and potential future customers.
With a validated North Star, companies move to the Product phase, where they’ll produce -- and with the help of their advisory boards, validate a Prototype and Minimum Viable Product. You'll also structure and test your basic go-to-market strategies. This is also the point where you’ll likely begin hiring employees and building your Functional Areas.
With a validated product, companies proceed to the Go-to-Market phase, where they’ll execute, assess, and refine their go-to-market strategies at a small scale. Your objective is to demonstrate to investors that your company has the potential to be cash-flow positive -- you have a product customers will buy, and effective marketing strategies to capture their attention.
Next, in the Standardization phase, you’ll document the Best Practices used to achieve your current success, and then deploy them throughout your company. Standardization reduces risk, and increases investor confidence - essential steps as you seek more capital to grow.
Now you’ll enter the Optimization phase. While continuing to execute and improve Best Practices, you’ll use Key Performance Indicators, to find opportunities to reduce waste and increase profit margin. Optimization primes your company for scalable growth.
During the Growth phase, you’ll align your entire company towards the key performance indicators which increase margin and that your potential acquirers value most. You’ll apply investor capital towards scaling your customer base with your efficient, well-documented operations, maximizing your company’s value as you prepare for exit.
Finally, you’ll enter the Exit phase, where you’ll foster relationships and partnerships with potential acquirers as they perform due diligence assessments of your optimized machine. After many years of hard work, you’ll negotiate a profitable exit that meets investor targets, and makes you wealthy.
From Vision To Exit, the BOSS lifecycle is an agile, proven roadmap for startup success, paved with processes and methods refined over decades of experience.