Stages of Business

If you have been in any kind of business of your own then you know that it changes as time passes. You will go through stages while you get things up and running and then find your equilibrium. There are typically four stages to the life of any business and what you do during each of them can dramatically impact the life of your business.

 The first stage of business is the "new business excitement" stage. You have just joined a great opportunity or launched your first product or put up your first site and you are jazzed! You are have the best deal out there and you are going to whip the world. You are going to make so much money that no one will even believe you when you tell them. You are full of energy and new ideas and can't wait to do them all. Unfortunately, that's the problem at this stage. You may have a tendency to scatter your time and resources among so many different things that nothing gets accomplished and you get discouraged. You are so busy building your business that you forget about the rest of your life. As resources dwindle and energy drops, you begin to worry more and more about your decisions until - you quit, thinking your business idea was a bad one or the network marketing opportunity was just a scam.

Now is the time to focus on gaining acceptance for yourself and your business.  Instead of scattering your precious time and resources on a variety of ideas, choose one key area of your business and focus on it.  Choose one key niche or target market and go after it with all your efforts. 

If you have joined a network marketing business, concentrate on finding customers for your products and team members for your downline. Decide how many prospects you can talk to effectively each day. That's your goal. If you don't gain a customer or recruit a team member that day, don't keep pushing out of desperation. Panic shows! Just set it aside and start fresh tomorrow. And don't spend all your money buying the videos or trying the products or going to the meetings. You will need to budget for these things while you grow your business.  

The second stage of business is the "dry spell." You have been working as hard as you can and yet you just aren't growing like you did in the beginning. You have run out of people to tell about your business opportunity. The initial excitement for your product has worn off. Your site just isn't getting the hits it used to. You're wondering "does this thing really work?" Don't panic. This just means it may be time for some changes. Do a little reality check to see if your business is on the right track.  Survey your customers and see if they have a new needs that you can meet - profitably, of course!  If you are in network marketing, it may be time to stop concentrating on building your own downline and focus on helping your team build their businesses. After all, if they are successful, it impacts you as well. Or perhaps it's time to look at some new marketing techniques or different markets for your products. Now is the time to learn some new ways to do things. Talk to your mentor. Read some of the books and newsletters published by the experts in your field. Brainstorm. Join a MasterMind group.  Attend some workshops or conferences.  And then make the changes necessary to move you past this stage.

Stage three is the "Wow - maybe this really DOES work stage." You made it through stages one and two and you are seeing your business gain some new life. You feel a sense of hope that perhaps you can make this happen after all. You have new energy and a new outlook and a new optimism. Keep it going by concentrating on doing the things that helped you make it this far to begin with. This is where you want to really take a look at what held you back and what moved you forward. Discard the actions that limited you and focus on those that help you grow.

This is where you want to start planning for continued business growth.  Most of us - myself included - started our businesses in our kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, or small home offices.  But as you become more successful, you will need to operate in a more "formal" fashion.  Start looking for the support network you will need to keep moving forward - an accountant, office assistant, and sales staff are just some of the possible help you might need.  Or if you really do feel you can still run your business alone, perhaps a housekeeper or yard care professional to help take some of the day to day upkeep of your personal life off your hands.  One of the smartest things I ever did was to hire a gentleman to care for my yard and do the little odd jobs around the house that need to get done, but that Dearl and I never seem to get to.  Now I can spend my weekends recharging for a new business week instead of frantically trying to catch up on all the things I didn't do during the week.  (And I have to admit - my lawn has never looked better!).

The last stage is the "I DID it!" stage. Your business is flourishing. You are making money. You have learned to balance your business life with your personal life. Don't lose it by becoming complacent. It's far too easy to sit back and rest on your laurels at this stage.  Always keep learning.  No matter how long you been in business, there is still something you can learn. Things are always changing - the economy, competitors, current trends, customer tastes.  When things slow down, take a good look at what's happening and don't be afraid to make changes if necessary.  A thriving business is alway looking for ways to improve. 

Your business is always changing. With the passage of time, your company will go through various stages. What you focus on in each stage will change.  Your business will require different approaches at each stage to be successful.  Learn what you will need to succeed,