There are now over five and a half million small companies trading in the UK (over a million more than were trading in 2010), with government figures showing that SMEs now make up 99% of the country’s businesses.
Whilst the nature of every small business can vary enormously, the progression of each one towards business success typically remains the same, enabling experts to develop models of the business lifecycle which afford every company the same expectations in their progression towards business success.
First stage – start-up
Immediately after you launch your company, you will inevitably need to spend time trying to get enough customers and clients to make your business viable. This is the time when you, and any staff you may have, need to be willing to do anything and everything in order to keep the company going.
As time progresses, you will need to adapt your strategy based on your experiences and client feedback in order to boost your business and ensure you have sufficient income to keep the company afloat when your start-up capital runs out.
Second stage – establishing your business
Whilst the main thrust of this stage is still survival, it is also a time to start looking ahead. And the better your company is doing, the more you need to start planning for the future, whether anticipating the need to replace or repair capital assets and IT, plan for new staff, or develop new products and services.
The timescale for being in this second stage is up to you. It may well be that you have no interest in taking the business further than providing you with a good standard of living – like the so-called ‘Mom & Pop’ stores which typically close down when Mom and Pop retire. Or you may want to make a go of it, and continue to develop the company, expand your offering, take on new staff and look forward to bigger profits that will enable you to grow the business even further.
Third stage – success
A stable and profitable business = success! But even now you have a number of choices. You could continue running it as it is, hire staff to take over some your responsibilities and focus on maintaining the status quo, you can actively choose to grow the business or you can sell the business as a successful going concern.
If you are planning further expansion, this is a good stage to disengage yourself from the day-to-day running of the business so you can concentrate your talents on expansion and looking for new opportunities.
Fourth stage – growth
Operational and strategic planning are essential if you want to expand your business. For this stage to succeed, you need to ensure that the basic business continues to be profitable whilst you plan your growth strategy. This means appointing effective and trustworthy managers to run the business whilst you are busy planning the next phase and bringing in new systems to help you manage the expansion.
Fifth stage – maturity
A mature company has enough financial resources, the right level of staffing and extensive systems to enable it to function successfully. However, if your company is to survive going forward, you will need to retain the entrepreneurial spirit that made it so successful in the first place to avoid stagnation and risk going backwards.
These days, the success of any business, however large or small, relies on an excellent IT managed service provision. As you take your business forward, having the right IT infrastructure, which not only has robust security but also keeps you ahead of technological progress, is vital. Contact us to discuss how you can future proof your IT requirements.