How To Handle The Stages of Business Growth
Congratulations on deciding to take the leap into the world of business!
Whether you’re opening your own business, growing your family business, or taking over a struggling business, there are ways to ensure that you successfully handle the stages of business growth as they come.
Some of the easiest ways? Deep breaths. Patience. Optimism.
And coffee. Always lots of coffee.
Growing your business will be challenging and rewarding all at the same time. How you handle these challenges and rewards will make all the difference in the success of your business.
The factors below need to be handled with organization, planning, and professionalism during the growth of a business.
- Company goals
- Increasing Revenue
- Expansion Through the Stages of Business Growth
By following these suggestions, your company can become one of the 2.4 million Canadian small businesses in successful operation today!
This is where you get to put a little bit of your heart and soul into the business. You’re developing hopes and dreams and planning for how to make them come true.
This is also where you might feel the most stress and pressure from trying to get your business up and running.
Besides picking the best company name and location, it’s important to create a vision for the future.
Here are some questions to consider:
- How big do you want your company to get?
- How many employees will you staff and oversee?
- How soon will you turn a profit?
- Who will be in charge of accounting and bookkeeping?
- What will your taxes look like?
- What kind of competition do you face?
Being realistic with these answers can help you handle creating a business model and will prepare you further for the other stages of business growth.
By now you’ve probably gathered your family around and asked them to help with the preparation work to get your business off the ground.
If you’re lucky, they’ve happily agreed.
But don’t let them on the premises to start painting and building just yet. Making sure you are legally covered in all areas is one of the most important stages of business growth.
How else can you move forward with your vision and ensure you won’t be liable for damages or tragedies?
Here are some ways to plan for the legal aspects of your business.
- Make yourself official by registering your business.
- Obtain the proper licenses and permits to begin working on site.
- Create a finance plan. It may be out of pocket or a loan.
- Contact your insurance company for small business coverage.
- Choose a reliable accountant to monitor revenue/losses.
- Choose a reliable lawyer.
The detailed Canadian tax laws could take up the entire content of this post.
Basically, what you pay depends on the size of your business in terms of income.
Ok, you’re there and ready for the traffic. But where is “there”?
Where can people find you? Do they have to walk right past your business in order to see it? How can we get them to find you?
Making sure that you have a presence in every form of media is key to bringing in new customers and clients.
First, you need to decide who you are targeting.
- Young Children
- The Elderly
- The Educated
- A Combination
Here’s where you can use your common sense to handle growth.
Fill in the blanks.
“My business sells ____ and the people who are most likely to buy it are ____.” Once your business reaches the maturity stage (see below) you can consider targeting a new group of customers to increase your revenue.
Folks who specialize in marketing research have found that the younger generation prefers to see advertisements on social media, while the older generation prefers information via postal mail. Not surprising, right?
In order to handle the stages of business growth, you must plan ahead and anticipate those who will create revenue for you.
After you’ve marketed to, and obtained the right crowd, figure out how you’re going to retain them and secure their business.
Now, don’t take this section the wrong way.
We’re not asking you to store food in the back room and chain up the doors.
If you’re reading this, it means your business has kicked off and you’ve tasted the sweet taste of success and want it to continue.
If your money is not used properly you run the risk of getting stuck in the survival stage forever.
As one of the most important of the stages of business growth, survival is the time for you to make it or break it.
You’ve spent your time managing your resources, counting every penny (and probably dipping into your own pocket…a lot), and looking forward to the future.
You’ve marketed well, retained customers, and have proven that you can sustain yourself. Now you take it to the next level.
As your business continues to show stability, consider options to help it grow little by little.
- Can you afford to employ more people?
- Can you open your business for longer hours?
- Can you optimize your prices to gain more revenue?
Even if your answers are, “maybe” or, “I think so”, try it. You and your company are worth the effort.
You’ve surpassed the point of survival. Your business is now thriving.
Think of it like opening a new restaurant.
When you first open, your hours are limited and the wait staff and kitchen staff are struggling to find a groove. You’re competing with surrounding food prices but haven’t locked them down yet.
After a month or two things start to smooth out – you open for longer hours and you have a steady flow of customers.
Finally, it starts to feel like all your hard work is paying off and that’s because it is.
Like anything in life, there needs to be effort and sacrifice to make something great. That is what you will find will happen to your business when you follow through these stages of business growth.
Maturity is one of the greatest stages of business growth for a few reasons. Mostly, because your demand is sustaining your revenue and vice versa.
But, also because you can start planning for the future.
Like the survival stage, be sure not to get stuck. Handle your success by coming up with new, innovative ways to better your company.
Start talking with other professionals about opportunities and network for a better chance of heightened success.
Networking opportunities can include:
- Social media outlets
- Face to face events
- Hosting and supporting local fundraisers
- Attending related conferences
- Joining related groups and organizations
- Become a mentor (or mentor company)
You survived, you matured, and now you want to make back some of that money you put in.
When we talked about marketing we talked about how to target certain customers and then keep them around.
Since increasing revenue is one of your most reoccurring stages of business growth, you will want to consider suggestions such as:
- Offer your valued customers special promotions
- Promote your company (so customers can know you are reliable and trustworthy) on all forms of media
- Sell your product/services online as opposed to just in person (or vice versa)
- Continue to optimize prices to maximize revenue
It seems like a lifetime ago that we were talking about making it through the survival stage, but now look where we are.
It’s possible to go through these stages of growth quickly, sometimes under two years. Typically though, you will be working on growing your business for at least the first 5 years of its existence.
You can’t rush the delicate process of success and growth.
But if you handle every aspect of these stages with organization, planning, and professionalism your business will be off to a great start.