Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taking off

There are several metaphors that can used to describe the life-cycle of a business, but the two that come to mind involve "rebirth" as in a cat with nine lives, or reincarnation. But first, let's go through the stages that lead up to that rebirth:

A Sparkle in Someone's Eye
This is known as the "dream" state in which everything and nothing is possible. It's a thought. If you do something about it, you get to the next stage.


All your ideas are "gestating" and it's the start of your business. You have taken some first steps, like writing a business plan or talking to people or maybe even thinking about a name.


This is when you know WHEN your business will start but you have very little idea of how it will all get done. It's "hurry up and wait", it's reading all the "what to expect" books but knowing that it's going to all be a surprise when you really start doing business.


Well, all the "heavy lifting" of the labor ends, the first day is over, the opening party is over and you have this small being that is now alive and needs to be cared for. It is your business. It cries your name in the night and is relentless in the attention needed to keep it alive.


There's steady growth, things are changing everyday but your business still needs constant attention. Perhaps you've taken your first bit of time away from it since you started. Hired a "sitter" for your first night out. This is often the time when it becomes abundantly clear as to whether you can really work with a partner if you have one. Maybe you need to bring in more help?


This is the somewhat predictable early growth stages that you've heard about. There are days when you love you business and days when you think you'll not come back from lunch. Ah, then you remember it's YOUR business.


A period of defiance in kids, in a business it could be the time when your vendors and customers and all that has been in place from the start, are not. The steadiness you got a little used to has ceased to be. You are now experiencing "growing pains" as you try and bring more folks into your business in some way. Perhaps you've outgrown your current technology? It seems like you need to throw a lot of money at the situation but it may not be the most responsible response.


Ah, you've seen most all of it. You've done most all of it. You have a confidence in what you're doing and how you're doing it. Sometimes you do get a run for your money from the new kids on the block. There's the re-education that you need to do to keep yourself on top of things.


Now the question is: Can you can truly keep up? You've been doing this a long time and your long range plans have not necessarily accounted for things like just being a bit tired of what you're doing. This time it's more than a "mid-life crisis". This time it's a matter of thinking about what's next: Passing the baton or calling it a day. Calling it a life and a business and moving to the next stage.


You're done


Maybe not. Maybe there's a way to reinvent this thing. Ah, a spark in the eye!!!

I hope you all had as much fun reading this humorous take on the business life-cycle as I did in writing it. Of course, stages and come and go several times. I'd love to hear about yours.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'm stuck in adolescence! I'm not ready to bring people into my business and let go of some control. Or maybe I'm just afraid I would have explain my reasons for doing things, lol.


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