Before all else, if you’re about to start your journey as a new business owner, congratulations! And welcome to the entrepreneurial world. Before setting the wheels in motion, discover the various growth stages your business will go through, their associated challenges and how to tackle them.
There’s no doubt that if you’re about to embark on a new business journey, you’ve already been taken aback by the overwhelming emotions that go hand-in-hand with taking on such responsibility. Feelings of excitement, amazement, stress and anticipation, just to name a few, and it’s no wonder. Starting your own business is just the beginning. Having taken the first step, your focus now is to maximize potential for profitability by ensuring anticipated growth transpires.
All businesses strive toward growth because it gives rise to even bigger opportunities, fresh experiences and further development; however, with no notion of the challenges growth brings and no provisions in place to help overcome them, the impact can be detrimental.
Your new business will undergo the following growth challenges and it’s important to prepare and plan for each one:
- The business proposal
What’s your business idea? Have you unearthed an unfulfilled need in the market? Or perhaps you’re looking to enter an existing market with a more lucrative offering? Whatever your ambition, creating the business idea is the first crucial step. However, before we over-egg the pudding, let’s start preparing for the must-do business plan that will help initiate a stronger business foundation.
Your business plan will outline the practicalities of your new business idea, which will help determine viability without actually starting the business officially. It will also help support any request for financial contributions in the form of bank borrowing, for example. If personal contacts are helping to finance the business, they, too, would benefit from seeing your business plan. Financing the business yourself? It is without doubt that you would want to see how you intend to return your own investment through a well thought-out business plan. So, here’s what a business plan would typically include:
- The key notion of your business. This should describe in detail the sector you’re about to enter, your anticipated trade patterns and structure, details of your offerings to the market and the goals you’ll be working toward with outlined actions on how you will achieve them.
- Your targeted then segmented market. This should include gathered marketing information, so early market research is certainly helpful here. Obtained from either primary and secondary sources, information on your target market would include such things as geographical, demographical, psychographic and lifestyle information put together with details of how you intend to achieve supremacy of your target market.
- Enterprise management program. How will you manage the day-to-day running of the business? At what stage will you begin recruiting employees and what roles do you anticipate creating? Are your current provisions realistic without risking burnout?
- Investment and finance management. Here you should outline any financial contribution needed, if any, and how much initial investment is needed along with return forecasting. Don’t forget to base this on realistic and factual predictions rather then hopeful projections.
Now with your business plan in place, it’s time to move on to the most exciting stage.
- Setup and startup
This is the first real opportunity to begin developing your physical business, and see your business plan become a concrete reality. The first thing you will learn as a new startup is how to adapt in accordance to the buying behaviors of your first customers and their feedback while managing a business without profit. There are a number of things that can help ease startup difficulties:
- People: This can include support from family and friends. If you’re starting out with new employees, their focus and enthusiasm can help create a positive business environment. Your employees will form a large part of the business culture. You want them to grow with the business so be sure you consider longevity and not just instant ability when hiring.
- A comfortable, practical and affordable workspace: How your business operation is set up will depend entirely on the functionality of the business, but location, size and whether to buy or lease are all major factors when choosing your first business premises. Another deciding factor is anticipated growth because as a new startup, you don’t want anything to hinder your efforts, including the niggling worry of suddenly outgrowing the premises.
Of course, the larger the square footage, the higher the cost, so your best approach to an affordable yet sustainable business property is to look up. With adequate height space, the need for more office, retail or storage space can be met by through a mezzanine floor installation so you can drive growth knowing you have provisions in place to accommodate it.
- Supplier relationship building: Suppliers will be just as keen to know you as you are them, so start building your network without delay This will help you to obtain the services, goods, parts or raw materials you need at competitive prices and good relationships will help strengthen your position when external factors become a hindrance, such as the current supply chain issues.
Now that your business has begun to establish a customer base, strong supplier relationships and great employees, it’s time to continues the journey to the next lucrative stage:
- Growth stimulation
You may be past the startup stage, however your new business is still fledgling and relies on induced growth. Here are a few ideas that will help generate growth:
- Analyze competitor activity to create tactical strategies to outpace them.
- Steer the areas that have a better drive for profit than others.
- Focus on rectifiable areas.
- Implement a customer/client retention scheme.
- Seek further opportunities.
- Introduce new marketing strategies.
Consider your new business like you would any entity that relies on you for all the right provisions to develop and thrive. Attending to the growing needs of your business now will drive more strength and integrity into the business.
- The scaling-up
Your business has now reached one of its greatest moments. Having demonstrated stability, prosperity and success, it has rightfully earned its wings with real opportunity to stretch out. Expansion provides new ways to generate more profit while allowing you to strive against more prominent competitors. However, expansion also requires initial investment and the risks associated with a poor expansion route can be significant, so to ensure your expansion plans will only strengthen your business further, it’s important to analyze all expansion options available. These may include:
- Entering additional geographical areas.
- The introduction/development of new products/services.
- Enterprise acquirement or merging.
- A significant investment in marketing.
It’s worth noting that although there’s an opportunity to expand, some entrepreneurs decide to continue the business in its current formation. Much of this is due to reluctance to take the risk of expansion, particularly when the current profitability levels are already substantial. The only thing to consider when opting out of expansion is that your expanding competitors, if successful, could take the market lead.
- The ripened enterprise
Your business has now reached maturity as a stable, established enterprise with significant market acceptance. The development of your products or services have reached the highest peak, as have sales and your objectives now, are to ensure ongoing improvements and continuous performance because despite the fact that your business is now at the final stage and is fully developed, the risk of dwindling sales will increase. This is due to new market entries, target market shifts and supplier variations.
Although activities going forward won’t be as intense as in previous stages, you should seek to ensure the business position, sales and customer base remain stable by:
- Seizing any opportunity to expand target market groups.
- Remaining on customer radar by continuing to promote and advertise.
- Maintaining good relationships with suppliers.
Your business is unique and therefore it will enter and go through each phase at a speed the suits its ongoing progress and infrastructure, so don’t panic if slow growth is the right pace for your business. As long as you prepare for each stage with a forward-thinking attitude, your business will be on the right track.
All you need now is a name for your business.
Best of luck to you!