What Growth Stage Are you at? What lies ahead on your Growth Map? Successful small and medium sized business owners and entrepreneurial growth companies steer their business ventures through four key growth stages – the start-up; the emerging stage; the rapid growth market penetration stage; and then onto the next level for re-invention, internationalization and new growth paths.
Stage 1: Start Up
The business is recently founded and the imperative is to specify/make the product (concept), prepare a business plan, get market feedback and peer advice , find and access production capacity and fund this product concept validation stage from own resources, credit cards, potential customers and earnings from related/previous work capabilities.
Stage 2: Emerging
The business is driven by the imperative of making sales. Without sales, there is no survival. The market is approached in a random way initially. Low-hanging fruit is the objective. Successful business sales patterns eventually replace ad hoc experimentation and not knowing where the next piece of business will come from.
Stage 3: Rapid Growth
Sales and customers reach a critical mass. Employee numbers are now becoming significant. Whereas sales was crucial previously, the imperative now shifts towards developing the company’s brand position in the market and an operational, decentralised infrastructure with the capability to sustain growth as the “hot product” fades and members of the initial founding team moves on.
Stage 4: Next Level
At this point, one of three things happens: (1) the business plateaus, reaching its internal limitation to growth, (2) or the business declines and fails (3) or the company experiences a breakthrough by redefining its business strategies, structures and processes. It marks a crossroads, sometimes seeing the founder/entrepreneur moving on. If this stage is managed well, the company begins a new cycle on the growth curve: serving new opportunities for profitability.