You can break down the small business lifecycle into 3 simple phase. Each phase is unique in how the small business is created and executed. It is a linear lifecycle, meaning one phase can’t happen without first going through the one before it, however, it is possible to bounce back to an earlier phase. Here we will explore these 3 stages.
It always starts with one person deciding that they have something to offer people that can not only sustain them but also benefit others. This is the very first phase of the small business life cycle. This is the infancy phase. The small business lifecycle mimics life itself, where infancy is what we all have to go through first and it implies something that needs to be taken care of. In this phase, your idea, your ‘baby’ if you will, needs to be nurtured and taken care of (this can be discussed in depth at a later time). Of course, this is the phase where you do most everything yourself. You’re kind of a ‘one-man-band’ that is offering something wonderful, at least you hope. Being out on a limb and feeling alone, this phase can be full of fear.
If you can build a following in spite of that fear, you will start to see an increase in demand. Yes, that old economic term that we never thought we would ever use, but building a following of people who like to buy what you are offering is an increase in demand. So when this happens, you naturally start to increase supply and this is where you realize you have to hire someone. This will inevitably create some sort of discomfort. This idea you have now is something that someone else is part of. Someone else is responsible for reaching people with your product. Whether it is your vendors, or your customers, someone new will be dealing with either or both of them. This transition is a crucial step in how your adolescent stage is played out. Having a team surrounding your idea, that believes in the same things you do, will almost always make the adolescent phase much less rocky. There is no doubt that you will probably come across folks who don’t fit what you are trying to build and because of that it is a clear and easy decision to not include them. However, no knowing what a good fit is because of lack of strategy in the infancy phase is much worse than coming across people you have to let go of or just not hire in the first place. Most small businesses fail in this phase because of lack of strategy in infancy, however, it is possible to shrink back to the infancy phase and rebuild or just close up shop.
After the adolescence phase, you have reached maturity. This typically only happens if you build something that is an expression of you and is still creating some sort of value for others. Business really is an art; It is only of value if value is seen in it by others. And when your business is mature, it will do this without your direct influence. You business can do this because you sculpted a work of art that expresses you and still is relatable to others, even without your direct influence. Talk about a humbling experience. When others want to impact the same people that you do and in the same way, but without the desire or need for your help. That is one of the hallmarks of a mature business.
Another important hallmark is that there was a vision of purpose laid out by the founder(s) that sustained through the different phases. This is the most imperative piece you can create at the outset of your venture, as it will impact how your business makes it through the different