The number of small businesses in the U.S. is estimated to be somewhere around 30.7 million. Many of them will fail but some will grow and become very successful. Along the way, many business owners will face challenges as they reach different levels of success.
If you are one of them, we can help you prepare for what lies ahead by illustrating the 5 stages of business growth: development, start-up, growth, expansion, and maturity stage.
Starting a new business can be exciting, but it can also be difficult and confusing. Having a plan will help you prepare for the changes and challenges that lay in front of you.
Consider developing a detailed business plan, preferably by using a business plan template. Whether you need customer profiles, funding, marketing and sales strategies, or setting goals, stats show that entrepreneurs who have a business plan have more chances to succeed than those without such a plan.
With so many choices available online, choosing a business plan template can be difficult. Start by typing ‘business plan template free’ into Google and pick one that best suits your ideas and needs. Bear in mind that a successful business plan will evolve as you reach milestones and set new objectives and targets, so be sure to revisit and review it on a regular basis.
During the start-up phase, your capabilities and the viability of your ideas will be tested. If things are not going the way you expected them to, this is the best time to review and make the adjustments needed to build a stronger business. Some of the key areas to focus on include finding ways to source and allocate funds and establishing market presence and customer base.
Putting together a team of employees who share your mission and vision is another big part of building a healthier business. At this stage, the workers you hire can have a long-lasting influence on the values, company culture, and performance.
Growing your business is an exciting prospect but knowing when and how to realize this potential can be challenging. Be sure to review and adjust your business plan so that it matches your increased client base and constant cash flow. This will help you understand what you have achieved and determine what you need in order to initiate a growth strategy.
Consider if you should reallocate your funds or invest in certain tools? For instance, if you’re using Excel, it might be time to switch to a CRM system. Or, maybe you want to retain Excel but hire corporate Excel developers who can help you with more than using Excel as CRM. You should also think about whether your company needs new employees or if it’s a better idea to invest in re-training and development of the existing ones.
As a growing company, your objective is to identify market conditions and growth opportunities and define strategies to accomplish them.
During the expansion phase, you will be testing what’s possible for your company and focus on finding ways to boost your revenue and market share. However, in order to achieve that, you need to have a clear understanding of your business’s limits and strengths, while at the same time aiming to maximize its potential. The results of this evaluation will allow you to start drafting potential expansion solutions and get an idea of which new markets to take into consideration.
For instance, one expansion route is to acquire or merge with another business. Expanding successfully means choosing the route that is best for your business.
If you manage to create a perfect environment for success through careful planning and hard work, you can expect to reach the maturity stage. Even though this is considered to be the last stage of business growth, it’s definitely not a time to relax and forget about all the strategizing and planning. If you want long-term success, you need to stay committed and continue looking for ways to meet the ever-changing customer needs with new ideas and products.
The marketing strategy during the maturity stage involves efforts to build customer loyalty, which is typically accomplished through incentives and promotions to consumers who decide to switch from a competitor brand.
Whether you have just started a business or planning to do it in the future, these five stages will help you create an attractive and successful brand. Of course, it goes without saying that that the key to success is having a product or service that offers unique value to your customers and evolves as their expectations do.