Blog Friday Q&A

Friday Q&A: When is a startup no longer a startup?

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Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.

Happy Friday!

This week’s question comes via email from Peter F.:

In short: it’s complicated.

Of course, perhaps we don’t fit everyone’s definition of a startup. We’re profitable, we’ve been sustainably growing for six years, and we’re up to a team of 15 with no VC funding.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t be a startup.

There are aspects of “being a startup” that we don’t ever plan.

Despite being profitable, we watch our spending closely, and get scrappy where we can.

Despite being around for awhile, we’re constantly working on big, foundation-shaking changes to our business, rather than looking for incremental improvements.

Despite doubling our team in the last year, we still have a strong bias toward hiring senior, entrepreneurial people who can independently own entire functions of the company, rather than building junior teams and training them up.

But there are also aspects of “grown up” businesses that we’ve adopted.

We plan for three, five and eight years ahead, rather than just one or two.

We’ve been working hard to build systems and processes that will help us do great work in the future, not just today.

We invest heavily in things that we believe in.

So, to answer your question: we see ourselves as a serious and sustainable company that will never leave its startup roots behind.

I’m really curious to hear others’ perspectives on this.

How do you think of your business? And, when is a startup no longer a startup?

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

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About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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