What It Takes To Go From $0-1 Mn to $1-10 Mn


Founders of early-stage startups are hustlers and wear different hats to ensure initial success. As the company scales, its needs and the founders' responsibilities also change

The journey from the seed stage to the growth stage is a mammoth one that depends upon the founding team's ability to tick all the correct boxes

From perseverance to agility to adaptability to innovation and beyond, it takes all-around discipline and dedication to propel an enterprise upwards and transform your entrepreneurial ambitions into reality

We are reaching the fag end of our $1-10 Mn journey at Advantage Club, and I am happy to share insights about how the journey of $1-10 Mn is different from the $0-1 Mn one. 

An early-stage startup ($0-1 Mn) is mostly in its initial development and operations stages. It typically has a newly established product or service, a small team, and limited revenue. An early-stage startup aims to identify ways to test its product among customers, onboard early customers, and try to attain product market fit. The team is generally small, and resources are limited. They are flexible and agile, sometimes avoiding lengthy processes focusing on rapid iteration and adjustment.

In contrast, at the growth stage, i.e. $1-10M, the startup, in all likelihood, has already validated its product-market fit and clearly understands its target customers and revenue streams. This stage involves scaling the business, typically requiring significant investment in product enhancement, sales, and marketing.

In general, both early-stage and growth-stage startups face different challenges. Founders should adjust the approach to match the company’s needs at each growth stage.

Building Leadership

Early-stage startups usually have a lean team. However, as you transition into the next phase, appropriate leadership plays a crucial role in the company’s growth that has set its sights on scaling operations. In the early stage, most of the work is done directly by the founders and the initial core team. 

But, as one scales, getting people who have built larger organisations is important. As a founder, it is essential to let go of some of the decision-making and trust the people one has hired to make the right calls.

Balancing Due Process And Agility

When entrepreneurs build something, they focus on a minimum viable product and fundraising to get the business off the ground. They are very flexible and may not need a lot of processes in place for day-to-day operations. However, when the organisation grows, the team size also increases. 

This will mean that people with different experience levels will come together. Therefore, some processes may be required to ensure smooth functioning and growth. While this may initially appear to weigh them down, finding the right balance between due process and agility is crucial for startups seeking growth. The key to ensuring everyone is on the same page is establishing clear procedures for decision-making, risk management, and communication. 

The teams must be empowered with a level of autonomy within the set parameters. Encourage regular communication between teams, stakeholders, and leadership to identify and resolve potential roadblocks before they become issues. Technology can be used to implement processes and measure their effectiveness. Thus, they can successfully navigate growth and increase their chances of success.

The Evolving Role Of Founders

Founders of early-stage startups are hustlers and wear different hats to ensure initial success. As the company scales, its needs and the founders’ responsibilities also change. At the growth stage, the founder’s focus should shift from day-to-day operations to developing and executing a strategic vision for the future. With time, the founder may need to delegate operational responsibilities to experts in various fields, freeing time to focus on strategic initiatives.

There are, however, some aspects that remain unchanged. The founding team should continue to foster a strong company culture that supports growth and innovation. They should also devote adequate resources to mentoring and developing the next generation of leaders within the organisation. Founders continue to be responsible for representing their companies externally and developing relationships with partners, customers, and stakeholders. Finally, they should be able to adapt to new ideas and approaches as the organisation changes and evolves.

Up-Skill Old Professionals

The initial founding team members may need to evolve and scale up to support the organisation’s continued growth and success. They’ll understand many things better than the new employees as they were present during the company’s early days. 

However, it is important for them to also scale up with the organisation in terms of collaboration, process orientation, and the ability to maintain discipline with a larger organisation. As the company grows, it will require new skills, knowledge, and capabilities in order to succeed. 

Aggressive Hiring

It is important for companies seeking growth to engage in aggressive hiring for several reasons. Companies need to bring on talented individuals with diverse skill sets to meet the growing demands and complexities of the business. A large and diverse talent pool can drive innovation and bring fresh perspectives to the company.

By attracting the right talent, companies can improve their productivity and achieve higher growth targets. Furthermore, aggressive hiring can facilitate market expansion and growth by bringing in expertise and resources to facilitate market penetration. Lastly, having a strong and diverse team can give companies a competitive edge and help them stay ahead of the competition.

Why Mistakes Prove Costlier

For a company looking to graduate from the early stage to the growth stage, mistakes and experiments may prove to be more expensive in terms of time, money, and reputation. As the stakes for success become higher. 

In addition, business slip-ups can derail a company’s growth and momentum, thereby preventing it from achieving its goals. They may negatively impact the company’s ability to attract investments and obtain the necessary funding to continue advancing. Mistakes and experiments gone awry can also harm employee morale and motivation, making it difficult to retain top talent. 

Moreover, they can damage the company’s reputation and customer relationships, preventing it from achieving long-term success and growth. Hence companies need to minimise risks and make data-driven decisions to stay on track and reach their goals.

Identifying Growth Levers

Growth measurement metrics for early-stage startups may differ from those for growth-stage startups. For early-stage startups, metrics such as user acquisition and retention, revenue growth, and product-market fit are more relevant as they focus on building a customer base, generating revenue, and finding product-market fit.

For growth-stage startups, metrics such as customer lifetime value (LTV), customer acquisition cost (CAC), and operating efficiency become more critical as they focus on scaling the business, improving profitability, and maximising efficiency.

Focusing on monthly/quarterly growth allows companies to be more flexible and make course corrections to stay on track. Monitoring growth regularly provides real-time feedback and will enable companies to identify areas for improvement quickly. Identifying the right growth levers, such as product improvements, marketing initiatives, or process improvements, allows companies to optimise their operations and maximise results. 

Furthermore, by tracking growth, companies can make informed decisions about allocating resources to maximise results and achieve their goals.

Ultimately, the appropriate metrics will depend on the specific goals and challenges of each stage of the startup and should be tailored to fit the needs of the individual business.

Data Is The Ultimate Truth

Data is the cardinal truth for any company aiming to grow because it provides the following:

  • Objective evidence for decision-making
  • A deeper understanding of customer behaviour
  • A clear picture of performance
  • A measure of impact
  • The ability to identify trends

Using data as the foundation for decision-making can help ensure that a company stays on track and reaches its growth goals. 

Unlocking The Next Frontier

Having achieved the desired growth trajectory, a startup should set its sights on the next target growth target, which is 100 Mn. This involves a renewed focus on critical areas like identifying new markets to explore growth opportunities, product innovations and improvements. 

It requires investment in talent development, prioritising customer satisfaction, implementing sound financial management practices, fostering strategic partnerships, and leveraging data for decision-making. Companies can continue to drive growth and success by focusing on these areas. 


The journey from the seed stage to the growth stage is a mammoth one that depends upon the founding team’s ability to tick all the correct boxes. From perseverance to agility to adaptability to innovation and beyond, it takes all-around discipline and dedication to propel an enterprise upwards and transform your entrepreneurial ambitions into reality.



Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

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