Lifecycles of Business
Did you know there are life cycles in your business? Do you know how to get the most out of each cycle? Understanding each one—and how to maximize them—empowers you to extend the lifespan of your business.
THE FOUR STAGES OF A BUSINESS LIFE CYCLE ARE:
- Growing Pains
Let’s take a deeper look into each of these cycle’s and how each one helps you to expand your business’ lifespan.
This stage in your business is often comprised of one employee: you, the owner. So, stretching the metaphor a bit, the relationship between your business and you is a little like that of a parent and their new infant. As with a parent, there is an unbreakable bond between the owner and their business in the early days (months…or years) as you ramp up your business.
However, it is critical to recognize that just as an infant must grow up, so too must your business. This stage cannot last forever.
Yep, you got it! In the “adolescent stage” of your business, you begin bringing staff on to your support the business. Your role shifts from doing everything (you know you did!) to delegating and directing. You train, mentor, nurture…and hopefully allow growth to happen.
Just like the teenage years can get more than little bumpy, this stage of your business will be. That’s to be expected. Your first line of defense is your key person, whoever it is that’s as close to knowledgable as you about the operations of everything. This cycle requires you to let them have more and more responsibility, just as a parent does with their adolescent.
This lifecycle phase may last for a few months, but it far more likely to last several years or more. This is due in large part to bringing on more and more employees, as well as a manager or two.
If things are going well (i.e., the child is growing up), there’s a point when business may experience explosive growth. It’s a mixed bag, since no one likes chaos, but you really want your business to grow. So, think of this lifecycle phase as “the growing pains” of transition. It’s a bit like the child heading off to college. It’s a good thing, but a massive shift requiring more mature responses without the life experience to smooth the way.
Consequently, these “growing pains” may have you considering the following choices:
- Avoid growth and stay small (Yikes!)
- Go broke (Double yikes!)
- Push forward into the next cycle (“Hold onto your butts!” ~Samuel Jackson, Jurassic Park)
The final cycle—and the one you want to last a long, long time—is the maturity lifecycle. Reaching maturity in your business is nothing more complicated than it’s grown up. It’s not the end of your business. However, your passion for growth must remain strong in order for your business to stay successful and competitive. Therefore, you must hold tight to your entrepreneurial spirit or risk seeing your business fade away.
The Four Lifecycle Stages
You see how all four of these lifecycles connect. You can’t get to maturity without proceeding through the adolescent and growing pain stages. Each one of them has its place in your business’ trajectory; all are required for you to get to the levels of success you desire. And all four require different skillsets from you. NOTE: no business owner or entrepreneur has all of those skillsets at the beginning. Frankly, many of them never develop them because such a high percentage of businesses fail in the first 5 years. That’s as regrettable as it is avoidable.
If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, take the best proactive step you can and schedule a chat with us. We come unarmed. And we’ve helped all kinds of business owners just like you.