Introduction: Building and Working with the New Venture Development Team

The essential steps in the transition from a nascent startup to an organization capable of sustained and profitable growth are not readily apparent to many early stage entrepreneurs. The life cycle of an entrepreneurial venture consists of four stages (startup, transition, scaling, and exit), each defined by the principal challenges faced by the founding team. The popular lean startup methodology emphasizes a disciplined process of exploration, validation, and refinement of the business concept as the essential first step in the process.

Although it is undeniably important to get the business concept right in the beginning, there is  a period of transition during which the founding team must establish a solid foundation for growth and scaling that may ultimately have a greater influence  on venture success. To date, limited research has focused on transition and the field has offered little guidance.

Entrepreneurs have largely been on their own as they struggle, through trial and error, to lay the foundation and build a scalable business. Indeed it is a part of the perspective of entrepreneurs we hold dear - that of the rugged individual!  However, as the Lean approach has given us more of a scientific approach to the process, a tremendous amount of learning is taking place around each step in the Lean process.  Capturing and sharing these lessons learned is a good practice for all involved, especially considering the importance of entrepreneurship to the economies around the world at this time.

This lesson describes the essential tasks to be undertaken–—the eight hurdles of transition–—and provides guidance, solidly based on experience, regarding the actions required to establish the foundation for a scalable business.