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The Key Stages of Small Business Growth

By Sean M. Hugo, CPA

Whether large or small, seeing a business grow and succeed is truly a rewarding feeling. It might be hard to step back sometimes, and really see the true growth of a business, but it needs to be done. Seeing how far you have come will not only help motivate you to the next step of the journey but gives you a sense of accomplishment for everything you have been through.

Most businesses are able to see themselves in these seven stages of growth, and there are many articles that discuss this - one published in Medium and another published in IncFile are the best resources. Keep this list of stages handy, so you can monitor your own progress and see where growth is needed, and what direction your business should be moving in if it is on track.

The Growing Stages

 

Solopreneur

The journey starts from a solopreneur as these articles will detail. You are a one-man show, with an idea and some capital...and not much else. These are usually years marked by struggle and meager revenue (if any). At this point, the goal is survival. This might sound a bit rough and bleak, but it is necessary to go through this stage to really appreciate the others.

Sustaining this operation is the biggest priority, and once you have managed that - as well as understanding what the time commitment is like, you are ready to move on to the next phase in this stage.

Partnership & Steady Operations

The next stages are partnership and steady operations, which entails having a set team and company structure - or at least the beginnings of one. You understand what your business needs, at least in its initial phases, and you have worked to find a small team that can help propel you to the next stage.

Finding the right team is the struggle at this point, and getting the right resources in place to help maximize growth, but once it is done, your business is positioned for the next stage.

Gaining Notoriety - Or the Middle Stages

 

Local Success Story

Congratulations! You have made some good strategic decisions so far, found the right partner and small team, and you are ready to take on the business world. Your business is likely gaining more attention now, or as some may call it, 'the local success story' which subsequently leads to a managed organization reputation. 

Managed Organization

Really, this point is about establishing your brand and defining your company and its vision. You need to have a clear blueprint now towards a goal, and what your business really wants to accomplish. Whether it is disrupting an existing market, or building a niche demographic - what do you really want? This will set the stage for the next phase, so it is crucial to get this right.

Start working with your team, especially in terms of finance to see what you are capable of, and what realistic goals are. Understanding your cash flow, and revenue streams are extremely important because they will define the rest of the journey. In order to grow, you will first need to clear a few things up, like:

  • Are there tax issues to be aware of?
  • Are there lines of credit that need to be taken care of
  • Are there any other small business loans that need to be addressed? 

A Mature Company & A Solid Corporate Player

 

Mature Company

This is it - this is when you have made it. No longer are your profit margins slim, but your expenses are high - now you know what your resources are, and exactly what you are capable of. The main focus now is keeping your revenue stable, and ensuring you have the right employees who are able to take your business and its sucess, and keep that momentum going.

Corporate Player

This is when you have room to experiment, to try new ideas and products and see how that works with your brand. Are there new markets you can expand to, or is there a new demographic to tap into? The sky is your limit now, and now you have the room to be innovative so take advantage.

It is important to note though, that at the end of the day, all businesses are different. Some might regress back to early stages, while others will continue to steadily progress. This is a general trajectory - but not the only one. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling our office at 405-759-2796 or by requesting a consultation online today.

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