Business Maturity – What Level have You Achieved?
Discover the Keys to Business Longevity
No matter what names are used for the various stages, there is a life cycle to every business from the start-up phase on through to being Fortune 500 company. This article tackles how to maximize the results at each stage of the business life cycle while also extending the lifespan of the business.
Michael Gerber in his classic book, The E-Myth, identified four main stages of a business life cycle as:
- Beyond the Comfort Zone
The skills needed and challenges faced by a business owner change as the business evolves from infancy to maturity. The following will briefly address what each stage means and how they can each help expand the business’ lifespan.
Generally considered to the technician’s phase, infancy is the stage in which the owner is deeply involved in every facet of the business and is constantly juggling tasks to keep the business moving and growing. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is more like that of a parent and new born baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.
However, as the business continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder for the owner to continue their same level of involvement in every aspect without dropping some balls. Infancy ends when the business owner realizes his role and his business must change in order for it to survive.
The key is to recognize that your business and you must change and grow in order to flourish. The business cannot stay in this stage forever. When business owners try to stay at this stage, they no longer own a business. They have a job and a terrible one at that as they must continue to work it for it to survive.
The adolescence stage begins when the business owner decides to get some help. During this stage, business owners start bringing in support staff and delegating certain functions or tasks to that allow growth to happen. Maybe it’s the tasks the owner doesn’t know how to do or the ones that they don’t want to do. Usually, they bring in someone with a certain level of technical expertise to do the work that’s not getting done like an accountant, salesperson or production person.
However, to be successful at this level the business owner needs to become more of a manager. All too often, the owner hires someone and just assumes that the work will get done just the way they want. How well it is managed and how well the business is able to compete will determine whether it survives and reaches the next stage. Here the business owner needs to start planning for the future.
Beyond the Comfort Zone
At some point or other as the business grows, every business reaches the point where the owner bumps up against the limits of their comfort zone. When pushed outside their comfort zone, business owners often experience anxiety and stress as things begin to feel unfamiliar and outside their control. Suddenly, everything seems chaotic. While growth is a good problem to have, business owners still experience growing pains. Faced with these growing pains, business owners are left with a number of choices.
- Avoid growth and stay small
- Keep growing until the business implodes
- Push forward to the next stage in the business life cycle
The last stage in the business life cycle is maturity. This doesn’t mean the end of your business. No, not at all. A mature business knows how it got here and what needs to happen to get where it wants to go next. In other words, business development becomes part of the culture.
The passion for business growth and development must continue for the business to remain successful. For this, the entrepreneurial perspective is required to push the business forward. Some key elements of the entrepreneurial perspective are:
- Identifying how the business must work
- Developing systems for producing results
- Having a well-defined vision of the future
- Making the necessary changes to achieve the vision
- Viewing the business in its entirety that is derived from its parts
As you can see, all of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation in each area (Technician, Manager and Entrepreneur) for your business to survive and continue to be successful. All three of these key roles are essential and must work together throughout the business life cycles.
If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, why not take our E-Learning System for a FREE test drive or set up an appointment to work directly with a business coach?
Kinetic Business Strategies helps overworked business owners systematically transform their business so they can more effectively grow revenue, improve cash flow & profits, increase the business’s value and achieve a better work / life balance.