Do you have any idea what stage of life you are in? Are you a young buck, middle aged or maybe over the hill. These days over the hill is a term I don’t acknowledge whatsoever.

What about your business? Do you know what stage of life your business is in? It follows the same stages as you and I, from Seed to Startup, Growth to Mature, Declining then – you guessed it EXIT!

If you are a big picture guy you need to know and understand which part of the process you’re business is in. If you can focus and work in the moment on the right stage you may grow your business or keep it from ruin.

Of course, here I go espousing my favourite topic, having a great Business Plan. Without a good business plan, it is impossible to get a small business off the ground, running and eventually moving through to the next stages of its life cycle.

See if you can identify where your business is NOW. Your business stages are:

Seed Like it says, has your idea been defined yet, do you have a plan, a team, a vision for the company? Maybe you’re doing market testing or looking for initial financing.

Startup  I like this part because you now have a marketing plan developed and you are looking for serious investors. You’re building up your infrastructure and are learning the hard way to keep expenses in check.

Mature  So you’re business is running well, it’s profitable, life is good. Why are you still hanging around? Why not find a replacement for yourself and work your way out of a job. Be an Entrepreneur. Sometimes it’s nice to have the options anyway. A mature stage is a good time to streamline your operation, get rid of some deadwood and make your company leaner without losing revenues.

Declining  I always ask my clients ‘is your heart really in the business? I woke up one day a few years ago and walked away from my lucrative commercial photography business because I lost my passion! I thought about adjusting my business plan to get refocused but sometimes a business just starts to lose steam not to mention the entrepreneur. Enter the exit stage so you can move on to a new opportunity. Remember this is not defeat, it’s like when a door is closing there’s might be a window still open.

Exit  Ouch, this may hurt a little! Seriously it can be a good thing to wind down your business totally. It could be that your declining business still is appealing to the young buck trying to enter your market. Close that deal and make some money and you guessed it, move on. On the other hand maybe it’s time to get out and fast before the bankruptcy guys have you for breakfast. Tough decisions for sure but sometimes it’s like a burden lifted off your shoulders’ Next?

Whatever you do and wherever your business stage is, remember as long as you know, you are still in control. Opportunity is around the corner and awaiting you!


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