Is your business the growing type? Part 2
The desire to build your business beyond the first stage is largely determined by the mind-set of being in business and what it means to you.
Many businesses fail to move to the next level in their journey. For a business to succeed, there are 3 facets that come to play. Two of these have to do with the entrepreneur and they are: Business Acumen and Leadership. The thirst facet is that of technical skill.
It goes without saying that in order for you to provide a service or sell a product, you must have the know-how, or must have hired or partnered with one who does. You have to know how to deliver that service, produce or sell that product. The better you become at providing the service, the higher your chances of survival.
It is one thing to know your product, it is another to understand all the ‘business’ that goes into creating a successful business. Growing to the next stage of business will take you to know business technics and apply them. These include, amongst others, market and industry knowledge, developing business systems, technology for business enablement, business finance, business development, risks and risk management. This knowledge allows you to work on your business and not just in your business, giving you the time to develop strategies that will catapult your business further up the growth chain.
Your ability to lead people into the future you envision is a scarce yet much needed skill in businesses today. Leading people involves dynamics that emanate from your ability to lead self. The kind of a leader you will determine the business you develop. Great attitude, confidence, focus, inspiration and decisiveness are traits that will need to protrude from you in display good leadership skills.
With the above facets, you can apply these for every stage of your business to grow it. Each stage requires a different set of skills and focus to make it work.
Survival Stage – This is where most of the functions are delivered by the owner. The finances of this business are very unstable and often, the business does not break-even. The client base is small. The mantra her is sell, sell and sell!
Growth Stage – This is where you begin to attract more clients to your business. Your brand is growing and sales are picking up. You are able to hire some employees to assist with some business functions such as sales, production, administration and marketing. Things are getting exciting but it doesn’t mean it’s all downhill. In this stage, the challenges of competition begin to be clearer. The difficulties of cashflow management and inventory shortages are your daily bread. Due to these challenges and others that exist, many businesses fall by the wayside at this stage or are stuck running around in circles putting out little fires here and there. As the owner of the business, this is where you will need to assess the right skills that are needed to manage this stage and to eventually grow from it to the next.
Expansion Stage – The challenges at this stage are immerse and yet the excitement can be impossible to contain. You have tested and proven your product in the market. Your services are in demand and more people are showing interest. This stage requires a robust plan and a very detailed orientated approach. You may be expanding to another location, introducing new products or acquiring other businesses. This stage allows you to grow even further, increase profitability, hopefully by a measurable increase in revenue brought about by the growth strategy you have implemented.
Maturity Stage – At this stage, growth rate declines as the market may be pretty much saturated. You may possess a large market share. Your finances are stable and now a large chunk of your funds are used for investment and diversification. Business systems are in place, you are a well-defined brand and as the owner, you need not be working in the business as the business has grown to now work for you. You reap the rewards of your hardwork, perseverance, sweat, tears and all those rollercoaster days. You are rewarded for not giving up, for not throwing in the towel.
This, I believe is why you should start a business in the first place. You not only provide financial stability for you and your family, but the livelihood of many other families, whose members are employees, are grateful to have you in their lifetime.
The ultimate growth of the business is where it meets the needs of its customers, affords you financial freedom and contributes positively in the communities it operates in. Its footprint must be felt in the economy for as long as it exists.
– Amanda Baloyi