It’s important to know the framework businesses work and survive in. Here’s the stages they go through.
In this stage the main problems of the business are obtaining customers and delivering the product or service contracted for. The company’s strategy is simply to remain alive. The owner is the business, performs all the important tasks, and is the major supplier of energy, direction, and, with relatives and friends, capital.
Businesses that survive the existence stage, move into phase two, survival. During the survival stage, a business has already demonstrated that its products or services are viable, that customers want them, and that customers return. However, the company has not yet demonstrated the ability to balance revenue with expenses in a successful manner. During the survival stage, your business is tested by determining, first, whether you are able to break even and, second, whether you are able to generate profits sufficient for reinvesting and growing the business.
The decision facing owners at this stage is whether to exploit the company’s accomplishments and expand or keep the company stable and profitable, providing a base for alternative owner activities. The challenge of a business owner with a successful company is deciding what they want to do with their success. Business owners basically have two options:
- Use the business as a platform for growth and continue reinvesting, expanding, and even using the business’s success and assets to finance and fund additional growth
- Maintain the status quo, keep the company operational, and use the profits to fund other pursuits or interests.
The challenges of the take-off or rapid growth stage primarily focus on managing rapidly increasing expenses, improving operations for greater efficiency, and identifying strategies for better management of personnel, task delegation, free cash flow, assets, resources, liabilities, and debt.
The company should be relatively stable in the maturity stage. It should have procedures and teams in place that allow the business to run without too much input from the owner. The business should have plenty of cash allowing it to invest in opportunities such as new products or acquisitions. The main challenge is ensuring there is no complacency while staying ahead of competitors looking to disrupt the market.
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