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Chapter 3

Stages of business growth

Table of contents

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Stages of business growth

You’ve done your research, identified your goals, and decided you’re ready to grow your business. Now it’s time to plot your growth strategy. This chapter outlines the stages of business growth, as well as the challenges at each stage and tips on how to overcome them.

Stages of business growth

Launch and learn: the startup stage

This is the stage you came from – the stage you survived. It was risky and difficult, but your efforts paid off.

At the startup stage, you most likely experienced challenges such as:

  • exceeding your initial budget

  • establishing your presence in the right market

  • following through with your business plan

Despite the many issues you would have faced, you pushed through, probably by:

  • keeping a close eye on your cash flow

  • focusing on your immediate goals

  • adapting to feedback from your customers

Check out our guide on how to start a business to learn more about the startup stage.

Sure and steady: the growth stage

You’ve launched your business. Now you’re seeing consistent revenue and an ongoing stream of customers. Be prepared for sure and steady growth.

You’ll be facing these challenges in the growth stage:

  • meeting the demands of increasing sales and rising customer numbers

  • dividing your time as a business owner between various opportunities and issues

  • successfully continuing to grow

To overcome these growth challenges, you’ll need to:

  • formulate a business growth plan and build a growth strategy

  • fine-tune your methods and make your processes more efficient

  • set up more effective accounting, management, and reporting systems

  • hire people who are passionate about your business so you can delegate and move into more of a leadership role

Bigger and better: the expansion stage

Your business has firmly established its market presence. Things are running routinely and smoothly, but more growth is possible. It’s time to go bigger and better.

You’ll encounter these obstacles in the expansion stage:

  • gaining a larger market share

  • moving into new markets

  • finding other profit channels or avenues of revenue

To get through these obstacles, you’ll need to:

  • plan carefully and do a ton of research

  • be realistic with the resources you have compared to the cost and the return on your investment

  • focus on markets and avenues that complement your strengths and current business activities, as opposed to unrelated areas with increased risk and a greater potential to go wrong

Navigating the stages of business growth

Every business is different. You may be content with the stability of steady growth and choose not to expand in a big way, or you may skip the gradual growth stage altogether and go straight to more rapid expansion. Whatever stage your business is currently in or whichever you choose next, understanding each stage can help you anticipate the challenges and increase your chances of success.

Chapter 4: Write a business development plan

Set your growth in motion with a business development plan. We’ll show you how to get started, what to include, and how to write a functional plan.

Read chapter 4

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