Once you make up your mind to start a new venture, you are already in the business life cycle. You will begin from the idea of a startup and if you succeed, you will go all the way to the growth and maturity stages. That is why it is important to understand the business lifecycle.
Each business has its own set of challenges. However, when you analyze each stage, you will learn some of the unique challenges that you need to deal with.
You should be flexible in thinking and adapt your business strategy as you move ahead. The strategies for retaining your market share and attaining growth are very different from those of market penetration.
5 Stages of the Business Life cycle
Research by the Genome Report shows that 90% of the startups that fail is due to self-destruction. It could be due to self-destruction or the bad choices of the founders and not bad luck as some people may put it.
There are some stages within the business lifecycle that are under your control. When you understand your position in the business lifecycle, you will be able to stay ahead of the game.
You will be able to anticipate the potential obstacles and challenges for business. It depends on your current business stage and the one you are about to transition to.
Therefore, as your business continues to grow and develop, so do your business strategies, objectives, and aims. That is why it is crucial to understand your current business life cycle.
1st Stage: Seed & Development
This stage marks the beginning of the business life cycle before you even begin to exist officially. You have your idea in mind and you want to launch your business. The first thing you need to do is assess the viability of your startup.
You should garner opinion and advice about the potential of your business idea at this stage. The main sources of information include your business associates, industry specialists, colleagues, family, and even friends.
The success of your business will depend on several factors including your abilities, readiness of the market that you are joining, and the available finances. This phase is more of a soul-searching one.
You need to take a few steps back and check whether your business idea is feasible. You should also confirm whether you have what it takes to make your business to succeed.
2nd Stage: Startup
After thoroughly canvassing and testing your business idea, you can now move to the second stage of the business cycle. This is the time of making everything official and launching your business.
If you make errors at this stage, it will have adverse effects on your company several years down the line. It is one of the main reasons why 25% of all startups don’t get to the 5th business life cycle stage.
The most important thing here is adaptability. You spend most of your time here tweaking your services and products based on the feedback that you get from your initial clients. You may find yourself making so many changes in your initial offering until you get confused. The good thing is that you will find clarity at the end of everything.
3rd Stage: Growth and Establishment
At this stage, your business will be generating some consistent income and taking on new customers regularly. Your cash flow will begin to improve because the recurring revenue will assist you to cover for the expenses. You should now begin to expect your profits to improve steadily and slowly.
The only challenge here is dividing your time among the many new challenges that need your attention. You will need to accommodate a growing workforce, handle competition, attend to clients, and manage the increase in revenues.
At this point, you will need to hire smart people who have the complementary set of skills that your business needs. You will take most of your time handling the recruitment process.
At this business lifestyle stage, you should begin playing the role of the company head. You should also identify those staff who can assume bigger responsibilities as the company continues to grow.
4th Stage: Expansion
At this business lifecycle stage, running the enterprise will begin feeling like a routine. Employees are handling most of the areas but the business hasn’t established its presence within your industry firmly.
You need to broaden your horizon by entering into new geographical locations and expanding your offerings. At this stage, businesses often experience rapid growth in terms of cash flows and revenues.
However, don’t be cheated to become so comfortable at this stage. In business, if you aren’t moving forward, then you are moving backward. If you don’t have that constant desire to expand, you may get caught offside.
This stage also comes with the risk of expanding so carelessly. Careful planning will help you to experience continuous success. Evaluate the resources that you have, and be realistic about the cost and effort and their potential returns.
Be keen on how the expansion can influence your current product quality. The new offerings may mean changing your business strategies. If you take on too much, your venture may end up collapsing at this crucial business life cycle.
5th Stage: Maturity and Possible Exit
After successfully navigating through the expansion business life cycle stage, you will begin to realize stable profits within your company. Some companies enjoy steady growth while others struggle to get to the same heights.
At this stage, the entrepreneur can either push for further expansion or exit the business. If you choose to expand, you need to confirm whether your entity can sustain further expansion. Also, check whether there are expansion opportunities in the market.
Check whether the brand is financially stable to cover for any unsuccessful expansion attempts. You also need to have leaders who are up to the anticipated expansion. You may be forced to bring in new business leaders who have the capacity to navigate through the new challenges.
Other people look to move on at this stage through a sale. It can either be a full or partial sale depending on the type and size of the company. Such a negotiation can bring in a whole new journey.
It is crucial to understand how you can navigate from one business life cycle to another if you want to succeed. However, some businesses rise very fast and may not go through all the above stages. Whatever the case, you need to understand all the above stages if you want to be successful in business.