Any business goes through various stages of development, They also face different cycles throughout the life of the business. Your today’s focus may not be what’s important or relevant tomorrow. Your challenges will change and your approach may need radical change to be successful. You must anticipate upcoming challenges and financing sources to succeed at each stage of your business lifecycle.
The seven stages one has to face during their Entrepreneurship journey may even be considered as 7 rebirths during the lifetime (Saat Janam).
The very business thought or an idea, maybe considered as seed stage of your business lifecycle. Seed-stage companies will have to overcome the challenge of market acceptance and pursue one niche opportunity which is in close vicinity. The business focus should be on matching the business opportunity with its own skills, experience, and passions if the individual is key. With no proven market or customers, the business will rely on cash sources of owners, friends, and family and other potential sources including suppliers.
A business now exists in legal terms. Products or services are in production, and you have identified your first customers. At the start-up lifecycle stage, there are possibilities that you have overestimated money needs and the time to market. You have to ensure not to burn through what little cash you have. You need to learn what profitable needs your clients have. Ensure establishing a customer base and market presence along with tracking and conserving cash flow at the earliest possible time.
At this stage, your Revenues and customers are increasing with many new opportunities and issues. Profits are strong, but the competition is also growing. Dealing with the constant range of issues demanding more time and money or predominant. Effective management, new business plan and delegation of work to conquer are mandatory.
At this stage, business is matured into a thriving company with a place in the market and loyal customers. Sales growth is manageable and more routine. You can’t rest on your popularity during this life stage, the market is relentless and competitive. You have to focus on bigger Business status. Issues like the economy, competitors, or changing customer tastes can change unpredictably. Product and productivity improvement to compete in an established market calls for better business practices and automation or outsourcing. Your own Profits, banks, investors, and government can prove to be a source of funds.
This stage is characterized by a new period of growth into new markets and channels. This stage is the right choice of the small business owner to gain a larger market share and find new revenue and profit channels. Looking for new markets requires planning and research. Just focus on businesses that complement your existing experience and capabilities. Unrelated Business verticals can be disastrous. Joint ventures, banks, licensing, new investors, and partners have assured sources of Funds.
Pandemics, unexpected changes in the economy, society, or market conditions can decrease sales and profits. It may quickly quell small Entrepreneurs. A sudden drop in sales, profits, and negative cash flow may be the biggest issue and lead to uncertainty as to how long the business can support negative cash flow? Search for new opportunities and business ventures. Cutting costs and finding ways to sustain cash flow is vital for survival. Suppliers, customers, owners and Special packages from Government or banks can be the source of funding.
It is a big opportunity for your business to cash out on all the effort and years of hard work. Look for a profitable deal to sell your business. If there is a negative trend, it can mean shutting down the business. Selling requires a realistic valuation. It may have been years of hard work to build, but the real value in the current marketplace needs proper evaluation. The biggest challenge is to deal with the financial and psychological aspects of a business loss If you decide to close your business. Look at your business operations, management, and competitive barriers to make the company worth more to the buyer after proper valuation. Ensure legal buy-sell agreements along with a business transition plan. You must find a business valuation partner and consult an accountant and financial advisers for the best tax strategy while selling or closing out the business.
Often each stage of the business lifecycle may not be in chronological order. At times businesses will be “built to flip,” crash landing from startup to exit. It’s always better to be in touch with the ‘Right type of people’ if you intend a smooth transition from one stage to another.