Running a business is not a destination, it’s a journey. And as your business travels along the pathway from initial concept to your eventual exit you will encounter opportunities and challenges, all of which will require an active approach to either seize or overcome.
At each stage of every business, yours included, there are certain things that you will need to have in place to ensure you’re best placed to take advantage of those opportunities and conquer those challenges.
That said, the sobering reality is that none of us have all the skills we need to be a success in business. You’re probably great at your trade or in the technical aspects of what your business does. But there is so much more to running a business. You also need to be able to strategies working in the business to manage your finances, your employees, your suppliers and even your customers.
The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. We will be with you every step if the way, as your trusted advisor and business specialist, providing insight and understanding as well as practical solutions to the kinds of opportunities and challenges you’ll encounter.
The starting point on your Business Success Pathway is the Seed stage. It’s that point where your entrepreneurial spirit takes over and you begin to explore your business idea. The objective here is to test whether the concept has the potential to be a successful business.
In testing your concept you will need to research your industry to assess the demand for your product or service, pricing, competitors and establishment costs. In addition you’ll seek feedback from family, friends, colleagues, industry specialists (including business and legal specialists).
Some of your considerations in this phase will be to assess profitability, establish business structures, the method by which you’ll enter the industry (buy/franchise/establish), even how you will engage suppliers and customers, and on what terms.
Once you’ve decided to bring your idea to life and form a business there is much to do. This phase of your Business Success Pathway is called the Start-Up phase.
It’s in the Start-Up phase you need to take some practical steps to bring your business to life. You’ll need to consider the business structure you’ll use and ensure it is the best structure for your individual circumstances. Then you’ll need to think about things like a business name, registering the business name, securing matching website domains, tax registrations, establishing bank accounts and ensuring you secure any industry specific licences required for you to trade.
Depending on the nature of your new business, including any intellectual property you hold it might be worth considering trademarks and patents. Plus you may need to consider raising capital and even establishing an employee share scheme to attract and retain the best talent.
We can help.
Now you’re into the Growth phase. This phase is also called the survival phase. The business is consistently generating revenue and adding new customers.
It’s at this point you need to be fine tuning your business systems to ensure you minimise cost leakage and maximise profitability. From a business systems perspective, it’s critical to ensure you have supplier agreements in place, terms of trade and other disclosures, robust employment management systems and agreements, compliance reporting and management systems, workplace health & safety and sufficient insurance coverage all as part of an integrated operational management system.
Without these things in place expansion will be not only challenging for the business, but potentially terminal.
We’ll help you take advantage of the Growth phase and position you for expansion.
If you successfully negotiated the Growth phase you are now in a position to consider expansion. It’s in the Expansion phase where scale will enable you to accelerate much quicker than you have in the past.
At this point you’ve established your presence in the industry and you will start to explore opportunities for expansion through both vertical and horizontal integration. This may enable you to move into new markets, expand market share, and grow profitability.
The sorts of opportunities you’ll find may include mergers and acquisitions with existing businesses or even establishing new products or services within your business. In some circumstances it may even involve expansion internationally, as it has with some of our clients.
And as you grow and expand you will encounter disagreement and disputes which require resolution.
Once your business reaches the Maturity stage it is a dominant player in your market space. You might still be growing but not at the rate of growth it enjoyed earlier.
No business lasts forever, so it’s time to start thinking about creating new markets through innovation and product or service differentiation and move back into the Expansion phase or simply to find ways to increase your market dominance. It might also time to think about succession and even your exist strategy.
The final phase of your Business Success Pathway is the Exit phase. After years of hard work and building something with true value it’s time for you to exit the business.
For you, exiting the business, might mean a total sale to a third party, it could mean you stepping away from management and appointing a successor, it may through divesting yourself of some of the equity. Whatever path you choose you should ensure you have planned well in advance your exit strategy.
At the end of the day a business is not built to serve the business, but as a vehicle for you to achieve your personal goals.