THE BUSINESS LIFE CYCLE
Businesses development is often categorized into stages that form the Business Life Cycle. The stages of the Business Life Cycle along with the most common services that we are called upon to provide are as follows:
1. "Seed" Stage
You have an idea and develop it into a potential business that could produce a product or service. We can help you develop, test, and refine your business plan, identifying and addressing issues before they become problems. Additionally, we can address intellectual property protection, trade secret protection, financing, investment, ownership and business control issues.
2. Proofing Stage
Though commonly included in the "Startup" stage, our experience has demonstrated that translating a custom built, prototype product or service to a market ready volume reproducible product or service is far more daunting than most entrepreneurs realize.
This is the first real test of business feasibility, often requiring revisiting the business plan to account for changes realized throughout this stage. Our guidance can help you realistically re-access issues such as financing, investment, ownership and control.
Making your product or service available to the public occurs in the "Startup" stage. This stage usually involves the most issues, problems, and opportunities for mistakes, which if not properly resolved, can pose substantial risk to business survival. Our guidance can help your business identify, and deal with issues before they become problems, thereby helping to ensure that your company avoids becoming one of the many businesses that do not survive their first five years of existence.
Your business is functioning, generating predictable income. Your focus is shifting to expanding the customer base and looking to a longer range view of the market. The long range focus is shifting from breaking even to profitability. Growth requires more people to provide increased production which means corresponding expansion of staff in areas such as management, marketing, sales, support and maintenance. New challenges such as employee benefits, business asset protection, and expanding facilities become real challenges.
Your transitioning from the do-all entrepreneur to the leader of a successful company focused on efficient growth, and maximizing returns, and we can provide critical guidance to get you there, and keep you there.
Much of your burden has been transferred to staff, the business is running without your having to manage every detail - you have a little time to think. This is the second most likely point at which businesses can run into life threatening problems. Internal problems such as quality control, productivity or embezzlement can destroy the company from the inside, while external problems such as maintaining market position, market share and market relevance threaten from the outside. We have helped clients mitigate damage from many different internal and external problems, and we can help you put safeguards in place that decrease the risk of such problems while providing an outside prospective to help shape the ultimate strategy.
Your business has grown to fill the target market, is making profits, good key people are in place ensuring that the business continues, even if your not there for a few days. By definition, growth in a specific market cannot continue forever. The business can either maintain it's position, providing stable income for you and your employees, or the business can look to expanding into new markets and new products. Purchase of another business, or the sale of part of your business are not uncommon at this stage, and the negotiations may be a whole new journey in itself. We have helped clients to explore and select the path that fits their interests and goals, along the way providing insight into the options in the interest of developing a successful strategy for the business.
Whereas the preceding stages were all about the business. Exit strategy is all about you. Exit strategies range from ending the business to selling your interest to someone else and walking away, with a vast array of options in between. Our outside perspective and experiences will be invaluable in planning how, and when, you choose to leave the business that you brought into life. Done right, you can comfortably move on, and so can the legacy that you created.