When do I stop referring to my company as a start up?

We’re way more organized than when we launched (that’s not saying much). We’re finally well funded. We’re only making new mistakes not repeating the old ones. We want to maintain our creative, agile, fearless, fast moving/fast solving skills that our clients see as a positive for a “start up” but we want to avoid the negatives associated with the “start up” label. (Finance is weak, poor policies and processes, shallow bench, industry inexperience) It’s almost an excuse for our clients to feel they can kick the shit out of us. Can we have it both ways?  Probably not.

  • Are you profitable?

    Are you dominating an industry segment?

    Are you gaining new customers without having to pay to acquire them?

    Seems pretty straightforward as to whether you’re a startup or not – unless you’re really a startup that wants to be viewed differently because of a staid target customer base or what not.

    It seems, however, that what you want is to gain all the benefits of startup labeling without any of the downsides – both well represented with your statement.

    At that point, you need a brand vs. a label

  • You can have it both ways.

    Marketing is in large part about highlighting the positive. If being a startup isn’t a good thing in your market (healthcare, finance, gov’t, etc) then make your clients understand that you’re a real business and nothing like snapchat or a social network for dogs.

    You can still present yourself as a startup when raising money, or when hiring, or in the media.

    Different narratives for different audiences.

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