The Startup Roadmap

Wherever you are on your journey, we can help!

AHA!

AHA!

You have an idea that solves a real problem.

Develop

Develop

You’re figuring out your product and market.

Launch

Launch

Your product is ready to sell and validated.

Accelerate

Accelerate

Your product is hot! Time to expand.

AHA!

You have an idea that solves a real problem.

 You haven’t raised any significant funding.

 You haven’t tested your idea in the market.

 You have entrepreneurial drive and want input & coaching.

Goals for this stage

connect

Get to know the ecosystem. Identify the resources that meet your needs and goals.

SHARE

Talk to others about your idea & get feedback before you develop it.

MONETIZE

Figure out how your idea can make money.

THINGS TO DO

  1.  Meet
  • Make an appointment with Cy Megnin, Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Velocities region. Cy helps entrepreneurs build their companies, figure out marketing, & more.
  1.  Talk
  • Reach out to Andy Lehman, The Mill’s Head of Accelerator Programming. Andy connects startups to resources and programs like accelerators to hone and scale your business.
  1.  Join
  • Become a Mill member to connect to other startups and talent. Be sure to go through the orientation with Rachel Kluck, introduce yourself on Slack, and talk to members in the building.
  1.  Network
  • Attend Happy Hours and other social events sponsored by The Mill, Velocities, Elevate Ventures, and others.

DEVELOP

You’re figuring out your product and your market.

 You’ve gotten feedback on how to improve your product.

 You’re identifying your market & its size, as well as your competition.

 You’ve raised a little money or generated modest revenue.

 You’re assembling a team (they might be consultants or colleagues) to help you take next steps.

Goals for this stage

DESIGN

Incorporate pilot user feedback into an MVP product.

Acquire

Define your customer & market, and validate them.

build

Build your team and your business model.

Things to do

  1.  Discover
  • Who is your customer? Do they want your product? Who are your competitors, and what is your advantage? What will be your beachhead market? How will you grow beyond that? Determine whether your product needs to pivot based on discovery.
  1.   Enroll
  • The Mill’s most successful startups are graduates of pre-accelerator and accelerator programs. These programs help startups hone their concepts, business plans, pitches, and more. Andy can help you understand which one is right for you.
  1.  listen
  • You’re meeting brilliant peers, investors who have seen hundreds of startups, mentors who want to help you, and experienced entrepreneurs who have solved problems and built powerful networks. Be coachable. Be at the door when opportunity knocks.
  1.  VALIDATE
  • Create a prototype or MVP, and acquire some customers who can use your product and prove it. Does your product solve a problem they are willing to pay to solve? Is the market big enough and viable?
  1.  PLAN
  • Develop your business model canvas and an executive summary. Build a team who will market and sell the product. Assemble a board of advisors. Ask Cy and Andy for recommendations, and get yourself in an accelerator program.
  1.  PiTCh
  • You’re going to need more money, and a strong pitch for investors and pitch competitions. You can also “pitch” the government for federal funds like SBIR to finance developing technology for the market.

launch

Your product is ready to sell and has been validated.

  There is demonstrable need to expand to meet cusotmer demand.

 You’ve raised pre-seed and/or seed rounds or have earned enough revenue to keep going, but you need more to grow.

 You’re working on your company full time.

 You’ve become a mentor to new startups.

Goals for this stage

grow

Grow sales: achieve month over month and year over year growth. Grow your team, too.

PROFIT

Identify your customer acquisition cost, retain customers, and become profitable.

SUSTAIN

Strengthen communication and relationships with key customers, investors, your team, and your advisors.

Things to do

  1.  Sell
  • Accelerate your marketing, with intention. Build the sales funnel, create a repeatable sales model, and define KPIs.
  1.  SHIFT
  • Does your product have the features customers want? Are you targeting the right market and buyer? Is the market willing to pay to switch to your solution (both in time and energy)? Shift until you find product market fit.
  1.  UPDATE
  • Your startup’s needs are changing. Grow your team to meet the new needs (especially selling needs). Update your business model canvas to reflect how you’ve pivoted and where you’re heading.
  1.  Connect
  • Develop regular communications with customers, investors, and your board of directors. You’re busy, so don’t assume it will happen when you have time. Make a plan and stick to it. 
  1.  LEASE
  • Take private office space at The Mill. Your team needs a home base, and The Mill has special rates for startups and support services you need.
  1.  Give Back
  • Support the ecosystem by helping other entrepreneurs. Join peer mentor groups or informally support new startups. Share your successes, your failures, and what you’ve learned that may benefit others.

accelerate

Your company is ready for major growth.

 You’ve achieved product market fit.

  There is considerable demand for your product.

 You’re ready to take a bold leap forward and expand to new markets.

 

Goals for this stage

Innovate

Release new products and features. Exceed customer expectations.

escalate

Aggressively pursue new customers. Expand your team. 

give back

Mentor other startups and help them succeed.

Things to do

  1.  Execute
  • Relentlessly pursue success: new customers, new innovations, new talent.
  1.  EXPAND
  • Expand your team, your markets, your vision.
      1.  RAISE
      • Ensure you have enough capital to feed fast growth to the next level. Are you ready for Series A? An IPO?  
      1.  LEAD
      • Take your role as a leader in the ecosystem. Thank those who’ve helped you on your journey, and help others who are just starting out.

          Talk to Andy

          6 + 10 =