Small Business Growth Stages
Starting up a brand-new business from scratch is an exciting time for many entrepreneurs and holds countless possibilities and promises, but at the same time, it can be tough to figure out how exactly to measure your business growth. Any small business owner is familiar with the struggles of a company’s growing pains, and if you’re one of them, you might be searching for ways to measure where your company is in terms of growth and how you can help it to improve. Despite wide variances in small businesses, they all typically are independent operations that experience several commonalities in their development. To understand this issue more, take a look at the typical stages of development you can expect to see as your business gains age and experience.
Gaining Initial Customers and Crafting a Unique Product
In the very beginnings of any business, the challenge is crafting a truly unique product or service, marketing yourself and finding your niche, gaining initial customers and retaining them. During this early phase, it’s typical to be asking questions like: Will the company have enough customers? Can this product sustain an entire business model? How can the business expand? What areas can it expand into? Think of this phase as finding your footing and figuring out what space your business will thrive most in.
Breaking Even and Becoming Profitable
If a company makes it past the initial start-up stage, the next milestone is breaking even on business expenses. In order to be viable in the long-term, it’s absolutely essential that you make enough money to cover regular expenses and maintain working operations while providing the same quality of product that you committed to in the beginning. Once a company has achieved a break-even, the next goal is to focus on becoming as profitable as possible while keeping standards high.
Financing Continued Growth and Planning for the Long Run
At this stage, a company is typically established, well known in its industry and starting to plan for the long run. If you already have one successful location, for instance, now may be the time to think about whether opening up more locations or even expanding internationally is right for you. In this phase, companies typically look for investors who can help fund this continued growth.
Every business owner wants the best for their company, and one way to ensure you’re headed in the right direction is to compare your company’s current growth and past development with the typical stages experienced by most small businesses. Use these milestones as a barometer for your own company’s business growth.