The progression from startup to mature business is a long, and sometimes arduous, journey. Businesses in all stages of growth face problems, but they all have the ability to look forward and learn about where they will be heading if their success continues. This CFPro Ventures guide explores the various levels of growth and helps you understand where your business may, with the right planning and the right support, be heading!
Stage one: Development of your idea
Referred to by some as the ‘seed’ stage, this is the time when you are exploring the possible avenues in which you could pursue your idea and discerning how viable it is. Getting opinions from as many reputable sources as possible is paramount, and the more positive reactions you receive may suggest your idea is ready to be built upon. You will have to consider if you have the most important factors to kick-start your business: commitment, ability, a willing market and financial backing. The inception of your business can prove to be the most vital stage, and it gives you an opportunity to check, double check and triple check that you are confident and have planned for all immediate eventualities that could occur.
- Are you ready for success?
- Do you understand your market?
- Do you understand how your product can help your intended market?
- Do you need money to get your idea to market?
- Can you do this by yourself?
- Do you have the right amount of support to help you to identify risks and pitfalls.
Stage two: Startup and initial business
After confirming your final business plan and consolidating your brand identity, your company is ready to be launched. It is commonly said that this period of your business lifecycle is the hardest and most daunting. According to Entrepreneur, the mistakes made in this stage of the process can impact on the company many years down the line, and are one of the reasons many startups unfortunately don’t ultimately work out. In fact, one in 9 startups fail within their first year. This may not be down to an issue of funding (popular startup Juicero gained £118m USD of funding and folded after only 16 months of business), but rather an issue of insufficient planning and having the right support in place for you, and your business. A key feature of a promising startup (and, in fact, any business at any phase of the cycle) is malleability and an ability to adapt to changing business environments. Your business at this stage should have a clear vision of what you want in the near, medium and long term – and more importantly how you plan to achieve it! You should be actively seeking feedback from every client on how they deemed your service to be and what could be improved. This is the prime time to implement these changes so you are ready for the next stage of your progression and, whilst it may seem a perplexing situation, try and implement as many positive changes as possible – you’ll reap the rewards in the future!
- Does your company have high-growth potential, and why?
- Do you have a vision for where you see your business growing in the next 5-10 years?
- Now that you’ve experimented in the market, are you starting to find more routes to market?
- Do you have a clear improvement startegy and long-term plan for your products and services?
- Are you digitally ready to cater to changing consumer needs?
- What challenges do you face today – and is overcoming them achievable?
Stage three: Growth and expansion
As the leader of your business, this is where you will assert your authority and begin to put your stamp on your industry. Cohesion within your team, alongside an ability to cede control over certain daily activities is important here. You will be needed to represent your company and establish a team beneath you who you are confident can fill in when you are otherwise engaged. Your company is fully in operation and you have nailed on exactly what your core processes and operations are. You will have experienced fluctuation in the markets and used your adaptable business plan to deal with any necessary changes. With improving cash flow and recurring revenue, your business should be looking forwards to progression, and a slow and steady increase in profits. The hardest task at this stage is balancing the day-to-day business operations with the necessary innovation required to handle all of your new demands, while at the same time – keeping your vision firmly locked onto your long-term strategy. On top of this, you will be dealing with customers, competitors and consolidating and increasing your workforce. Your workforce is always your most important asset, and they are vital to succeeding at this juncture and allowing you to formulate methods of even further expansion. This is a sweet spot. You’re a high-growth business – and you’re ready for exponential growth.
- Have you identified how much funding you require?
- Do you have a long-term plan on how you plan to expand?
- Is your business ready to take on more shareholders and keep them actively engaged in your business
- Do you have an organisational culture that supports the next phase of expansion?
Stage four: Solidity and further expansion
It may be that the opportunity for further expansion has arisen with a solidified client base and a committed workforce behind you. Or it may be that you continue to grow, you have a strong sense of where you’re headed and your organisation has a long-term track record and brand recognition in your market. A sense of regularity and maturity of your business is evident and you are able to competently handle changes to processes and the markets with your experience of previous changes. At this stage you should be looking to explore new markets and geographies, don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons and showcase your successful business to anyone (and everyone!) Staff will have become experienced with the ins and outs of your business and you will have created a team of brilliant and committed people. It is important to not become complacent with your business blueprint and assume your company is impervious to negative situations. The innovation you have always been planning for will come in to play, and whilst you leave your team to run the business and keep your revenue increasing, you can explore the potential doors which have opened now your business has increased in stature and is prospering. Your ever-evolving business plan and contingency planning allows for you to take your company to the next level and look for further, but you should be happy with your achievements and not become too eager to change your core products and services just for the sake of it.
- What lies ahead for your market in 5 years?
- Do you have the right management team in place to lead your business forward?
- Are you, as an individual, best placed to handle the changes confronting your business?
- Does your corporate culture support your ongoing, long-term strategy?
Stage Five: Maturity
Those businesses that fall into the Mature business space are companies who have been around for a while. They’ve a proven track record of longevity, they’ve been through mergers and acquisitions and their brand has probably become a household name. Great, one would think. Not always. For many businesses finding themselves in this space, they’re up against an entirely different wall. Where there focus is also on continued growth and market expansion, many of them are now held back by antiquated, traditional business process and culture which hinders as opposed to helps them move forward. It is usually in this phase where businesses face massive organisational transformations. The core of what they’ve always done is being disrupted by a new, digital desire to confirm, comply, out-win, deliver and sell. They seek innovation to keep themselves at the forefront of their industry – and for many, mergers and acquisitions is the only way for them to upskill, quickly, and still forge ahead. Many now start to collaborate with other businesses in the cycle and recognise the importance of a networked ecosystem where they have access to new opportunity and customers.
- How innovative is your own organisation?
- Is your organisation missing out on opportunity simply because of antiquated thought and operational process?
- Do you, as a leader in your business, have a clear exit strategy in place?
- How are you as an organisational taking advantage of the latest technologies that support a changing customer buying behaviour?
CFPro Ventures has worked with businesses who find themselves in various stages of growth. We have transformed businesses in distress and we have helped to propel business forward through delivering exponential growth opportunities. We walk the journey with you. Your success is our success. Talk to us today about helping you push your business into the next growth opportunity.