Business Advice: From Start-up to Success

Going into business is the ey part.  Staying there that’s the hard part!

budding trepreurs join the ranks of business owners, most manage to survive through the d of Year One.  By Year Three, however, data shows that 44% are no longer in business their businesses have failed.  By Year 10, 70% are no longer in business. 

How do businesses manage to be among the 30% that survive long-term?  Understanding the characteristics and challges of the three major developmt stages your business will experice will help your business survive and thrive.

In today’s column, I will share advice I offer in workshops for business owners whose businesses are in varying stages of developmt.

The business developmt stages: 
All start-up businesses experice three distinct stages of developmt:  the Startup, the Survivor, and the Success Stages the statistics mtioned earlier bear out: only 30 of 100 business startups will survive long-term.  Of the 30 that survive, ev fewer will achieve the definition of a successful business. 

What is a successful business? 
The goal of any business owner is to become successful.  We don’t define success by business’ revue or the number of employees it h.  Our definition is simple yet effective: A successful business is an organization that consisttly makes currt s happy and gets s while earning a profit.

What does it mean to have a successful business?  It means that it can survive in the owner’s prolonged absce.  On a daily bis, its operation focuses on making currt s happy while obtaining and absorbing s.  And finally, a successful business makes a profit.  Profit means that there is ch left over to save or reinvest in the business after all the bills and the owner are paid. 

Stage 1 The Startup Stage
The Startup Stage is tered wh owners take the plunge.  They begin to offer their product or service for sale to the public.  Unfortunately, this is also the stage where thusim and excitemt oft distract owners from king some bic business questions about the viability of their business or concept.  My advice to budding trepreurs is to step back, take a breath, and th k and answer these bic questions.

Five Key Business Viability Questions to k (th revisit oft):

Answering these questions will require you to think seriously about your business.  It will provide the information you need to determine if your business concept is viable and provide the framework for a business plan.  Revisiting these questions throughout each stage of business developmt will provide direction and critical information for continuing to survive and succeed.

itional characteristics of owners in the Startup Stage are that they oft experice poor ch and high debt.  They are also frequtly the primary worker in the business. 

Your Goal at the Startup Stage:  To survive.

Stage 2 The Survivor Stage
Making it to The Survivor Stage means you have survived in business long ough to gerate a positive revue, but little to no profit. 

Characteristics of the Survivor Stage include:

The Survivor Stage is where most business owners who make it through the Startup Stage d up, oft indefinitely.  Most owners in the Survivor Stage work more hours and earn less income than their counterparts working for others.  They are strapped for both time and ch, which makes it very difficult to step away from the tk at hand to plan and execute a pathway to success.

Transformational Stage: The Survivor Stage is also called the Transformational Stage of business developmt.  Owners must realize that the survival skills they used to make the cut are not necessarily the same skills that will take them to long-term success.  Change is oft necessary at this stage if the business is to succeed.  Business owners must change transform the way they view and interact with their business, its employees, and its s.

In this stage, time managemt and delegation become critical issues.  This is also the stage where systems, formal steps and procedures, are introduced and developed to replace the ha and personality of the owner.  It’s also a good time to revisit the 5 key Business Viability Questions.

Your Goal at the Survivor Stage: To transform surviving into a successful organization that keeps currt s happy, gets s, and earns a profit. 

Stage 3 Success Stage
Congratulations!  Your business is an organization that consisttly makes s happy, gets s and earns a profit! 

Characteristics of the Success Stage include:

Smooth Sailing … Caution!: Business owners in the Success Stage can oft become distracted by the sse of smooth sailing that accompanies success.  Oft, trepreurial excitemt, ergy, and competitivess that led to success have cooled.  The systems that replaced your ha may have degraded to bureaucracies and policies that are no longer -ctered.  If these symptoms exist in your business, you need to take steps to reinvt an trepreurial, -focused culture. 

In the Success Stage there is oft abundance of what you had little of before money.  a result, there may be a tdcy to throw money at challges rather than face them head on.  There can also be a temptation for the owner to develop a lifestyle which oversteps long-term financial reality or to invest in outside of the business’ core competcies or mission.  My advice is to keep your Money-Head.  Keep focused, and stay lean, effective, and efficit.  And, again, remember to revisit the 5 Key Business Viability Questions.

Your Goal at the Success Stage: To decide whether to maintain or grow.  Owners of mature businesses must also decide whether to reinvt, relinquish, and possibly ev retire the business.

Business is a challge.  Going into business is ey.  Staying there for any lgth of time is hard.  trepreurs face challge after challge after challge their businesses evolve.  Armed with knowledge of how businesses evolve and what to do during their evolution sure that your business not only survives, it prospers.


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