Last month Castos turned 6 years old.
Compared to a lot of businesses, we’re still a baby. But then again, when looking at the typical startup landscape, we’re not a young pup anymore.
As a founder, this timing and my perception of what the next phase of business will look like have been cause for some reflection.
If you’re been following along on this journey, you’ll know that ever since starting a product-based business, all I wanted to do is have a big exit.
Capitalism is great in this regard. Companies with the highest value all have:
- Sticky products that customers love
- Incredible (owned) distribution channels
- Are in a fast-growing market
- Are sustainable and have low systemic risk
- Solid financial fundamentals
As they say, “a good business to buy is a good business to run.”
Earlier this year Castos turned profitable for the first time in a very long time, and it’s an incredibly freeing feeling. In fact, for this business, at least, I don’t know that we’ll ever go back into fundraising mode and be cashflow negative. Just doesn’t make sense for our situation and opportunity at this point.
Running a business for six years (and PodcastMotor for just over two years prior to that) has given me a lot of first-hand business experience.
And at this point, I’m starting to take a much longer-term view of what running Castos for the long term could look like.
Is it really possible to run a SaaS business for 15 years?
Sure, there are loads of examples of this out there. Maybe not SaaS specifically, but just because SaaS as a model didn’t exist then. But there sure are loads of businesses, and even software businesses, that have run for very long periods of time.
Continuing with this business path (and not letting any shiny objects, either internal or external) distract me from focusing on our core mission without the bounds of time is an interesting mental exercise.
What would your product roadmap look like for the next 5 years?
What marketing decisions would you take today if you knew you had 10 years to compound them?
What team investments would you make today to ensure the stability of the business for decades?
Not a lot of people in our startup Twittersphere world are thinking about this. And frankly, I’ve not either.
But now that I’ve taken my focus off of a big exit and am starting to think much longer term about what the future of Castos could look like in the longer term these questions are coming into my mind.
And it’s really exciting.
Building real businesses with real operating models (i.e., SOPs, long-term vision, profit) that last over the long term is a very real thing to be proud of, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be in this situation.