Growth Models

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Making Startups Happen

The end result of many years’ operation should be a big deal! The plans that show “how you get there from here” are the growth models for the different legs of the tetrahedron.

Originally published 2000

Those plans show how each aspect of the organization will grow:

  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Organization

The one thing that won’t change is your organization’s mission, or purpose. That is the fundamental driver for everything else, and it remains constant.


A sequence of technologies that build on each other where, ideally, each technology targets the “saddle point” between the crossing curves of potential market and potential competition. The technologies may represent offshoots from the basic technology, or refinements of it. (In general, refinements are better. They take fewer additional resources for marketing, support, etc.)


What kinds of marketing you’ll be doing out of the box, and what you’ll be doing in 5 years. How many people in the sales force, how much advertising, how big a public relations effort. How much outsourced and how much done in house.


The spreadsheets that show income and outgo. Salaries, overhead, and marketing costs are projected, along with expected revenue, loans, and investments. The resulting cash flow picture all has to make sense. So the revenue must make sense with respect to the marketing effort, both of which must make sense with respect to the amount spent on developers (to make salable product) and marketing (to sell it), taking into account the kinds of overhead for facilities, equipment, supplies, and administrative overhead necessary to make it all work. Must show the return to investors, as well, to make it clear where the reward for investment lies.


The number of people (specific individuals, when possible) who will be brought on, and when, to fill what capacities .

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