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The 4 Stages of Business Ownership: How to be better at each of them

There are 4 stages in a business cycle that call for a change in business tactics to nudge a business into the next stage of business ownership.

Businesses are as diverse as the stars in the sky. However, every business, especially the small business startups, undergoes the same transitions at some point in time. And they are the four stages in the lifecycle of a business, from the ideation to the maturity stage. Every stage demands that the business strategies be reviewed and amended to boost the progress of the business and push it up to the next level of ownership. Following are the four stages of business ownership – Startup Launch, Growth and Sustenance, Innovation and Evolution, and the Peak and Plateau stage. So, if you are planning on starting a business, this blog is for you. Let us look at each of the business ownership stages and where to focus on for progress at each of those levels.

Startup Launch

This phase is an amalgamation of ideation, research, planning, and launch of a particular business idea. Here, you seriously consider that little spark of idea you have and invest efforts in in-depth research and planning to create a base. Once, you are convinced and prepared to implement the idea, you launch your business on a scale that suits your financial and infrastructural (if applicable) ability.

Factors to Consider:

• Product/service planning and design

• Business funding

• Reaching out to target audience/customers

• Sales and marketing plans

• Internal workforce planning

• Most importantly – a lot of hard work

Growth and Sustenance

In this stage, you have already picked momentum. And your business is growing at a good pace. You have generated a decent level of loyal customer base. You are now focusing on adding more customers and attracting investors. This rapid growth implies the need to focus on sustaining the growth. Hence, you need to design a growth strategy in terms of revenue vs. expenses.

Factors to Consider:

• Adding human capital to delegate the burgeoning work.

• Designing a growth and sustenance strategy. This includes – budgeting, marketing, and sales plans.

• Competitor analysis

• New management plans to further grow your business

Innovation and Evolution

This phase is the most challenging stage of a business cycle. Your passion and dedication may have got you to this level. Here the need of the hour is a complete focus on encouraging creativity and innovations. These efforts will help you improvise on your product and/or services and also align them with a fresh marketing perspective. In order to stay ahead of your competitors in the market, this plan can give you that edge over others. And, gradually, you may notice how your business evolves into something you may not have even imagined at the outset. Most of the established brands have been through this journey.

Factors to Consider:

• Encourage your leaders and managers to brainstorm and innovate.

• Add a fresh perspective to the existing business plans – sales, marketing, customer focus, etc.

• Add tools and technologies supporting seamless transitions.

Plateau

This is the final stage of any business cycle. In the end, every business has to face this stage of business ownership. This is a phase where business owners are confident about their revenue statistics and are fairly lax in terms of rigorous activities. You have now achieved success, climbed the top rung of the ladder, where you feel that your business has grown to its full capacity. What next? There does not seem to be any further scope of growth. Hence, at this stage, you can either relax and maintain the status quo or opt for an exit strategy like handovers, mergers, and similar other options. This could mean an absolute retirement from business, or an opportunity to reinvest in another venture and start anew.

Factors to Consider:

• Decide your next plan of action – maintaining the status quo/retirement/reinvestment in a new business idea.

• Scope the market for opportunities

These four business ownership stages are unavoidable and are major milestones in the growth of any business, however small or big. Only those businesses become brands that have been able to successfully touch upon all the mentioned phases. Hence, a business owner who constantly asks himself/herself – How to grow my business, can take heart and keep going at every stage knowing that it is absolutely normal to grow at varying paces as long as there is even the smallest evidence of growth in the graph.

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