This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.
You’ve got the idea, the vision and the product. Your startup is off and running — and hopefully you’ve even got some customers lined up. Whether you’re operating out of a shared workspace in a metropolitan hub or in your mother’s basement, the company you’d always wanted to found is now a real, certifiable thing.
The big question is “what next?” How do you go from mere existence to generating revenue? And how do you know when it’s the right time to move from being a startup to being a viable, growing enterprise?
To get some answers we talked to Tom Sponsel, managing partner of Sponsel CPA Group, an Indianapolis-based accounting and business consulting firm, who has been advising entrepreneurs for 40 years. Here are his markers.
There’s Space in the Marketplace
At this stage you should have tested the market, talked to lots of people and determined that there is space in the marketplace for your product or service. Even the best idea won’t go anywhere if there isn’t sufficient demand for it from the potential customer base.
It may be the idea is too far ahead of its time and people aren’t yet willing to pay for what you would provide. (Remember Friendster?) Or there may be a glut of competitors in the marketplace. Is your idea sufficiently different to stand out? Can it be trademarked or patented?