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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Six Stages of Business Growth

Guest Author: Debbie LaChusa
Part 2:

Stage One: Conception

Thinking about starting a business is a lot like thinking about having a baby. There are many things to consider and you're making a commitment to a new way of life.

Growth markers at this stage may include thinking about your decision to start a business 24/7, information seeking and reading books, worrying about whether you can really do it, dreaming of what it will be like to have your own business, talking to others about your idea, and starting to take action, for example, setting up your home office.

Stage Two: Giving Birth

Starting your business is a lot like giving birth. It can be exhilarating and scary and wonderful and painful all at the same time. Yet it's always worth the end result.

Growth markers at this stage may include choosing a name for your business, getting your website set up, deciding on your products and services, deciding on incorporation, getting a business license and insurance, opening a business bank account, branding your business, beginning to market your business.

Stage Three: Nurturing Your Baby

Running your newly launched business is a lot like taking care of a new baby. It requires lots of loving care and dedication. And while it brings you great joy, it may also bring some unexpected frustrations and surprises, too.

Growth markers at this stage may include working a lot and feeling tired, limited budget and cash flow, marketing, marketing and more marketing, recognizing how much you still have to learn, excitement about what you are creating and wanting to tell everyone about it.

Stage Four: The Toddler Years

Just as toddlers begin to exert their independence, challenge mom and test her patience as they grow into spirited little people with their own personalities, so will your business as it grows and enters this stage.

Growth markers at this stage may include getting clearer on your ideal clients and your best products and services and fine-tuning your business, willingness to make mistakes and get back up and try again, more confidence in your ability to make your business a success, starting to see the payoff from all of your earlier efforts and marketing.

Stage Five: K-12

At this point, you've survived the challenging baby and toddler years and now you're getting comfortable in your role and your focus is on raising a happy, healthy business that you can enjoy for years to come.

Growth markers at this stage may include a strong customer base, a solid email or prospect list, consistent cash flow and sales, you and your business are known in your industry, potential partners and the media are seeking you out now, more free time to pursue new ideas, a strong sense of accomplishment in what you have created.

Stage Six: Graduation

Just as your child grows up and prepares to leave the nest, your business grows up and your role may change. At this point you're grateful you've survived the challenges and you look back on the journey with fond memories and appreciation for all you've learned and experienced. And now it may be time to move onto something else ... perhaps a new business or retirement.

Growth markers at this stage may include an extreme sense of gratitude at what you have created and the anticipation of moving onto something new.

Every business goes through these stages.

However, the pace they move through the stages may vary, just as some children walk at 9 months and some don't walk until 18 months.

The important thing to know is you can't skip a stage ... and you really don't want to. And you can't rush the stages either. Each stage plays an important role in the growth of you and your business.

You'd never choose to have your child skip from 2 years old to 16 years old would you? Of course not. Look at all you'd both miss.

When you can learn to relax and accept each stage of your business for what it represents, and begin to simply enjoy the journey, just as you enjoy your child as he or she grows up, you'll find you are indeed raising a happy, healthy business that enriches your life every single day, just like a child does. And you won't be in such a hurry for your business to grow up!

Debbie LaChusa is the founder, president and CEM (Chief Entrepreneurial Mom!) of the National Association of Home-Based Business Moms (NAHBM). A former marketing executive, Debbie began her work-at-home journey nearly 20 years ago when her daughter was born. She has run her own home-based business since 1998, has coached thousands how to market their own businesses, and is the author of the book, The Career-at-Home Mom. Register for your Free Special Report, "Secrets for Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy Home-Based Business" and Home-Based Business Growth Chart, plus get a Free Starter Membership in the National Association of Home-Based Business Moms at


  1. How funny. I thought about this analogy a while back when I noticed my daughter's stages of development were similar to my business at one point. Unfortunately, now with the economy what it is, my baby is at a strange stage of life.

    Just as it had reached graduation, the income slowed drastically. We are known in the industry and have folks seek us out to do joint ventures with us but the sales are nowhere near what they were a year ago.

  2. Great minds think alike!

    I think it is time to "re-define" ourselves and when I interviewed Debbie she made a very good point. She wrote her book to "re-brand" herself. I did this with the Writing and Publishing Book without knowing the term for it!

    The market is constantly in a flux and it has dramatically is at this juncture that we look at our goals and see how they need to be tweaked. One way I have done this is with a Life Coach. I never realized the benefits. She has helped me to clarify my vision.

    I am excited about the new direction and hope to share it with all of you on this blog soon!