A story narrative is structured as such: introduction to rising action to the climax, followed by falling action and final conclusion. Much like a story narrative, the stages of a business are fairly formulaic. The difference between a business and a story is that a business does not have to end. Once a business gets through early stages conception and can thrive in the industry, it will continue to grow. When a business begins to reach the falling action, it can reinvent itself with new products or services to spark interest back to the rising action. While this can all be written in text, the following is a more in-depth process of the seven stages of business growth.
This is the stage of conception. Before any business decisions are made, before any money is transferred, this is where an idea is planted into the ground and begins to sprout. Whether it is an inventive product or a new take on an old system, the vision lays the groundwork for the goals and aspirations of the business to follow and move forward with.
For example; Jim is getting fed up with using his current project management software at work. “I could make a better one than this,” he says. It then occurs to him that he could create a project management software. In his free time, he thinks about the project and finally decides to start programming it.
This stage marks the beginning of the business. The initial concept needs to be translated into a culpable business plan. The business plan lays out all of their goals and creates roads to achieve them. In addition to creating this plan, you will need the money and support to jump-start your new business. Money can come from your own pocket, a business partner or outside means of financial collection including crowdfunding, angel investors, a bank loan and more. This is the most difficult stage of business as it involves organizing all aspects of your business at once.
Continuing with Jim, he starts to build a prototype for the software and realizes he could sell the software. So he talks to his friends and coworkers about investing in his company. He manages to gather enough money to pay for software and servers in order to run it, which paid for the website and website development as an avenue. Leading to purchase the software and the leftover was put into advertising the software online.
At this point, you have lifted your business off the ground and have started to sell your product or service. While the flow of income will be low at first, it will steadily increase with the constant exposer to new customers every day. However, during growth many mistakes can be made to ruin the business, mainly to do with overestimating growth. While you are constantly increasing in revenue and sales, growth can vary in the volume of growth on a daily basis. Things such as over-expansion, overstaffing or general overspending can ruin a business. Proceed this stage with caution because the flow of customers will vary!
Jim has run his business for six months and has been starting to build a decent clientele. As for his operations, things have remained generally the same with him running the merchandise website and servers but has hired an additional staff member from his workplace to act as the software programmer to perform hotfixes and updates to the software. He doesn’t want to risk his growth by overspending his currently booming cash flow.
Congratulations! You have successfully survived the early stages of a business. You are steadily increasing in revenue but no spikes in clients gain or loss. From this point, you can safely say you have an established business that you can rely on for income and future plans. Unless there is a sudden drop in your programs use, there is nowhere to go but expand.
After two years of the company, Jim has quit his job to become a full-time employee at his business, acting as the CEO and CFO. He has ten other employees and has an office space. Sales are on a constant climb and wish to only grow more from here!
The second stage of growth is often the longest as you will expand all aspects of your business such as your reach, product selection and productivity. Expansion can be international or global and includes rapid growth with your exposer to the mainstream industry. People are often aggressive to reach the top of their ceiling or even industry.
Jim now has evolved his project management software business into a multitude of products such as help desks and analytics software. He has multiple offices located in the country and has 100+ employees. The company is on the rise to the management software industry and after only five years is gunning to the top!
Well, you’ve done it, you’ve reached the top. Whether you are at the top of the industry or the top of the town, there is nowhere to further grow. Now you have to defensively claim your territory in your industry and keep improving your business one step at a time. You are well known and are in constant contention with others in the industry, like your Coca-Cola’s and Lay’s Chips.
After seven years, Jim’s company has reached the top of the management software industry. Their software is used in over thirty countries. Jim, finally content with his job well done, takes his first vacation in seven years.
Whether you are offered to be purchased by another company, due to a sudden decrease in sales or being overtaken by more innovative businesses, your maturity is being threatened. In this situation, you are given two options, whether to succumb to the threat and exit the business such as selling the business or reinvent your business to evolve to the changing times. If you chose to reinvent yourself, while you are not the dominant business you were before in the industry, you will keep some influence but the process of the business cycle is restarted from the establishment.
The traditional management service industry Jim is apart of is being overshadowed by innovative businesses that implement new-age technology into their software. While it will be financially and time-consuming, Jim decides he wants to keep up with the evolution of his industry.