Startup Product Roadmap, Phase 3 – Commercialization

Startup Product Roadmap, Phase 3 - Commercialization

Commercialization is focused on scaling your product and growing value. Since this is the first major product offering for your company, it’s also about creating a viable long-term entity.

You’ve been absolutely killing it! You’ve identified and validated a problem, built a prototype, and gone live with an MVP product that the market loves.

Sell, Scale, or Sustain?

Now you have a choice to make. You have three options:

  1. Sell – You could look to sell your product today. You’ve likely created something that can fit into someone else’s product portfolio. This option would probably provide a decent return for you and your investors.
  2. Scale – You could double down on the value that you’ve created and plan to scale your company by servicing more clients, providing more products, and continuing to grow your value. Note that this plan means raising more money—a lot more money. It’s a path that many other companies before you have taken.
  3. Sustain – You could aim for slow, sustainable growth with little-to-no more outside investment (sometimes called a lifestyle business). If you’re happy with modest gains and you’d rather focus on running the business than on constantly raising more money, this is the route for you. Of course, this is only possible if your existing investors are happy with this scenario, or if you can buy them out.

Step 8 – More Fundraising (If Needed)

If you’ve chosen Option 2 above, it’s time to find investors. You have a clear, repeatable model; now you need a lot more money for marketing, scaling your team, and growing the product suite.

The capital required at this phase generally comes from venture capital (VC) firms. VCs primarily exist in big cities. They’re run by bankers, and they want you to grow fast.

It’s likely that you’ll be raising millions of dollars at this point. It’s also likely that you’ll be taking money from people who live in a different geography. These folks are professional fund managers. They understand complex deal structures, and they care about making money.

Be aware: If you decide to raise money from VCs, you’ve chosen the path of aggressive growth. From now on, “success” means selling the business or taking it public.

Key question

Is it worth it to pour gas on the fire?

Activity/experiment

Find VC groups. Reach out to a bunch of them. It’s good to get a lot of irons in the fire.

Budget

~$X0,000 in various legal and deal fees and a bunch of your time. It’ll take a lot longer than you think.

Outside involvement

The deal structure will probably be complex. Hire a good lawyer and a good accountant who have experience negotiating these types of deals. It’s possible that you’ll need to look for help in a major city where these types of investments are more common.

Step 9 – Scaling

Grow, grow, grow.

You’ll need to scale your development team, your marketing efforts, and your sales ability. Hiring the right people and setting up the right infrastructure will be invaluable.

Chances are, it makes sense to continue using your design and development consultancy for additional quality capacity as you scale. Talent will be your bottleneck.

You may continuously cycle between Steps 8 and 9 until you sell the company.

Key question

Can you grow more value?

Suggestion

Build out your company, grow your team, and grow your client base.

Budget

~$X,000,000+ (Use the money raised during your VC rounds, or cash flow if you don’t need the additional money).

Outside involvement

Work toward bringing your core competencies inside your company and leveraging service providers for all other services.

Good luck with the journey. Remember to stay focused and create experiments that help you quantitatively learn.

I’m cheering for you!


The Startup Product Roadmap

Read more about the software startup journey:

Need a handy reference? We gathered this series into an ebook you can download:

We also summarized the Startup Product Roadmap into an infographic:

Startup Product Roadmap Infographic

You can also download the Startup Product Roadmap infographic as a PDF.