Whether you’re attempting to increase market share, improve profits or add employees, every retail business strives to grow. That also translates to navigating tough challenges and finding inventive paths throughout that business development.
This blog introduces you to the five stages of the business lifecycle and steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
Stages of development
Whether you’re chasing a lifelong dream or you’ve identified an unfulfilled need in a specific market, taking the first steps to start your business can be quite exciting. However, with so many factors to consider, the process can be confusing and challenging as well. If you’ve decided to take the entrepreneurial leap, doing so with a clear plan — a roadmap of sorts — will help guide you along the way and prepare you for the inevitable twists and turns that begin and grow.
So, where do you start? Your best bet is to develop a detailed business plan. Whether you need funding, a set of goals (and a time-frame to meet them), a detailed customer profile, or all of the above, statistics show that new business owners who start with a plan have a better chance of achieving their goals. The chances of being successful are doubled.
With numerous resources online, settling on a specific business growth template can be somehow overwhelming. But don’t forget that there are no right or wrong answers. The best first step is just to take one.
Every business out there is unique, and so is your business plan. However, one thing that every plan should include is an authentic reflection of your company’s aspirations. It is also essential to understand that most successful business plans are regularly developed over time as reviews are done, milestones are reached, marketing plans are revised, and new goals and objectives are identified.
While business plans can help you create a business that is more attractive to outside investors, during these early stages of business, it is crucial to continue to build a foundation that will prepare you for success regardless of outside interests. Do.
That foundation will look different depending on the focus of your business and your end goals, but here are many factors to take into account when setting yourself up to take your first big step in the market:
- Identify how your concept/product/idea meets a need in the market
- Find out how well it will be accepted in the market
- Determine your ideal outcome – from profits to adoption rates to overall effectiveness
When you have a plan, it’s time to act – the start of the next phase of business development: the start-up phase. During this time, you’ll test the viability of your big ideas as well as the effectiveness of your abilities—and this phase can represent a series of make-or-break moments for many small business owners.
But we are not talking about tests and trials here. If your business KPIs aren’t progressing the way you want or need to be, it’s okay to reevaluate and pivot as you move forward. This flexibility will allow you to determine what changes are required to create a healthier, more resilient business. And a big part of building a solid business comes with attracting (and retaining) a team that shares your vision and mission—one that will help you do the work necessary to accomplish your collective plan. can assist.
At this critical stage of growth, the people you hire can make a lasting, positive impact on the culture, values, and performance that define your business. That’s why it’s crucial to build a team that shares your goals and has the diversity of skill sets and ideas needed to help you achieve them. It’s a long job, to be sure, but it’s possible. And let’s say you’re struggling to find (or attract) the employees you need to do it all. In that case, there are experienced, outside resources like G&A who can help you navigate the recruitment process and build a pipeline of talent.
Another key factor to creating and maintaining positive momentum is having the capital needed to make it all happen. Whether raising money, finding investors, managing cash flow, knowing your options, and maximizing their potential, go a long way to give you the stability you need to help get your business off the ground. Can do.
Finally, the start-up phase is when you start putting all the pieces together. As you establish the core elements of your business growth plan, some key areas to focus on include:
- Establishing a customer base and market presence
- Manage accounts in a way that best suits your operations
- Navigating the way your funds are sourced and allocated
Once you get into a comfortable groove, you’ll be ready for the next step – growing your small business.
Growth potential is an exciting prospect but knowing how (and when) to do it can be a strategic balancing act. For example, matching the momentum of your increased cash flow and customer base without losing your business fundamentals is a struggle many successful companies have had to navigate.
So, before you get completely bogged down in the growth spurt, take the time to review and recalculate your existing business growth strategy to match your new reality. That helps you more easily determine what is needed from both a financial and interpersonal perspective. This exercise can give you a better understanding of what you have achieved while helping you identify unexpected opportunities or specific areas to improve your business model before formulating your business development strategy.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when planning your next steps, but here are some simple questions that can help guide your path:
- What is your small business doing best at the moment?
- What is driving profit?
- What does the current competitive landscape look like?
- What are the current market conditions?
As the owner of a growing business, your goal is to identify the gaps in your market and what is driving your profits, then develop strategies to expand both efficiently.
Featuring a new season of rapid business growth and growing distribution channels, your expansion phase is when you test the limits of what’s possible for your retail business.
Finding strategies to increase your market share or revenue streams requires a detailed understanding of your company’s strengths and what they are worth in the open market. With that understanding, you can begin evaluating potential expansion avenues and design a course in new markets to reach new customers. To see what that expansion might look like for your business, visit the U.S. Check out these recommendations from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Whatever the size of your expansion, the key to making it successful is to understand the limits of your business and aim to maximize your potential. For example, an expansion solution may involve a merger or acquisition with another business.
When your company reaches the stage of maturity, it is the result of a lot of hard work and perseverance and a business idea that has proven its worth. You and your team created the right environment for success through strategic planning and maneuvering, helping you grow from start-up to industry standard-bearer. Now, for mature businesses, the importance of growth merges with the need for retention and other business interests.
Although maturity is considered the final stage for business growth, this is not the time to be the last row or sit back, put aside the strategies and plan developed, and coast for years to come. Businesses are living, breathing entities. Long-term success requires motivation, continued commitment, and the ability to meet the needs of a customer base with an ever-changing world and new products and ideas. Stagnation at this point invites more competition and makes it more cumbersome to react to market trends.
There are many ways to keep your offers fresh and navigate the phase of a potential decline.
Another method to ensure continued momentum is to look at your business plan and determine whether moving to a new expansion phase or considering an exit strategy is the way forward. Growth, expansion, and reinvestment are hallmarks of any business with a long history of success. If you think what’s right for you, your team, and your business, the sky’s the limit.