Things like size of business and experience of the owner are not good predictors of what an owner knows, or doesn’t know.
The CEO of a multi-million dollar franchised business has questions, challenges and concerns that are hauntingly similar to the President who had inherited the family business or the entrepreneur who was starting a business based on their original and unique idea.
This revelation caused me to be on the lookout for ideas and explanations that could be applied across the broad spectrum of business ownership and adapted to fit the needs of each business and owner.
One of those ideas, is that growth for all businesses occurs in 5 stages.
Click this link to see a document that lays out those 5 Stages. When you get to the document, look to the left side of that page and start at the bottom of the page.
I would like to tell you a little bit about each of these stage -
We begin with the stage called IRRELEVANCE. Kind of rude to call your business this at any stage. But in the very beginning, as you planned for what might happen, it really wasn't a business yet, it was an idea that may have never come to fruition. There was lots of "research" going on, with all kinds of possibilities and creativity swirling in your head. And then, the plan began to take shape and those possibilities developed into the reality that you bought or launched.
Right about the time that you open the doors for business (or maybe even a little before that, if you operate from a place of business storefront, office etc that you had to build out), you entered into the CHAOS stage of business ownership. A time fraught with challenge, as you promote your business and learn to deal with real customers or clients. What people remember the most about this stage is the "spend, spend, spend" that seems to go on with end and often without an equal amount of income.
But that too will pass, or has passed and you graduate to NORMALIZATION. Most owners recognize that they have arrived at this stage when the cash flow is regularly sufficient to meet all the expense needs of the business (including a salary for the owner).
AFFLUENCE is the next stage you will enter. Your business has size momentum and your efforts to monitor, fine tune and economize are paying off. Owners begin to think about repayment for the time, money and energy that they have invested in their business. As well as, looking for opportunities to re-invest in their business.
The fifth and final stage is FREEDOM. Owners have the time and wealth to enjoy what they have built. That enjoyment takes different forms for different owners. Some will build an organization that allows them to spend time away from the business, without loss of efficiency or income. Others will find their enjoyment in opening more locations. Some will grow market share by acquiring their competitors.
That's the flow of growth that is available to businesses of every size. As you can see there is a lot of room to personalize what growth will mean for you and your business.
Not all owners are interested in growing through all 5 stages and some will fail to achieve the growth they want, despite best and great efforts to do just that.
Growth is not a one way street. It is possible to slip back instead of going forward. Regression can happen if you are distracted or take your eye off the goal. Or, it can be the result of influences outside of your control. A lot of us moved back a stage or two in the economic recession of 2008.
Growth, big or small, doesn't happen by accident. There are systems and processes that come to exist in your business, consciously or by accident, that will support growth. Or in their absence, create a barrier to growth.
I will be back next month to talk about those systems and what you can do to promote growth for your business, if that's what you want.
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