Are you just starting out on your journey to becoming a successful business owner? Do you feel prepared for the challenges that lay ahead? If not, it’s important to know the five stages that your business needs to go through to experience optimal growth and, ultimately, optimal success.
In his 1949 book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, Joseph Campbell talked about a great monomyth that was found in all cultures around the world and throughout time. He spoke of the hero's journey and established the key steps that were part of the process. The second step of the journey is of paramount importance. It's known as “The Call to Adventure”. Here the hero, who is currently in the Ordinary World, is summoned to the great adventure. Feeling the entrepreneurial calling is often the first step for many business owners.
Once you have the entrepreneurial fire burning in your belly, you'll find that ideas begin to flow and rise up into your consciousness and field of vision. Some you might discard as too far outside your scope of experience and others might simply not be profitable in the current marketplace. But you will also discover a couple of gems, perhaps some ideas that you've never thought about before. You might just find that one particular idea really captivates you, and you begin to believe in it and feel it's almost magnetic attraction.
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During this phase, you'll be responsible for taking your idea and birthing it into the world. It's a very demanding time, as you’ll have to handle about 100 things at once. One of the most important things you'll need to do is to raise capital and make sure you have all of your funding in place. It's a good idea to find and apply for small business loans so that you have the cash you need to launch your venture. You'll also want to work with a lender that cares about their borrowers, and offers coaching and support.
Once you have successfully navigated starting up your venture, you'll enter a new phase with different challenges and things to learn. During the growth stage, you'll be expected to fully build out your company and make sure you bring on employees or support partners who can help you grow and expand. During this time, there will also be a heightened focus on increasing revenue and profits and making sure your strategy and messaging is ideal for the marketplace. While things may not be a hectic as they were during startup, you will find that the executive level tasks you are handling are more demanding. It is also important to understand the signs your business needs to pivot directions. What you set out to do might need to morph slightly, or significantly, to meet the market demands and trends that will generate your ultimate success.
As time goes on and your entrepreneurial venture becomes well-established in the market, you'll move to the maturity stage. In this phase you'll be more like the captain of the ship than the swashbuckling entrepreneurial pirate you once were. Your goal here will be to keep the business on course and to maximize the return on investment. Although you always have to be on the lookout for changing market conditions, it may be a quieter time because you have created a strong foundation during the previous years.