Taking a page from growth-oriented businesses, there are clear and consistent points of focus, choices that, when taken, make ‘growth’ a part and parcel of the everyday. But the specific actions and strategies that business can undertake vary greatly from stage to stage.

    Businesses need a framework that is flexible and sensitive to the realities of start-up time and costs, inevitable changes in team size, roles and even product or service offerings. In this eBook, we look to offer a framework to understand the business lifecycle and what to focus on to help you grow.

    Having a framework for a business cycle can help emerging and developing companies maximise on the opportunities available for them at that stage. Every stage in the business cycle has its own right expenditure of marketing, sales, analytics and training/hiring actions.

    Focus of the eBook

    To bring these elements and choices of growth to light, this eBook focuses on:

    Identification of the five
    stages of business growth.
    What companies are likely
    experiencing and considering
    at each stage.
    'Aligned actions' that can be taken
    at each stage to accelerate growth

    The Key Findings & Recommendations

    Stage 1: Existence

    The ‘existence’ stage is fundamentally existential in nature. At this point, the team is lean and are asking themselves key questions about survivability, serving clients and customers, and when the right moment is to take that next ‘big’ action. The questions businesses need to address at this stage include:

    • Who are our customers, audiences or clients?
    • Can we move from our avatar of an ideal customer to mass market?
    • How long do we anticipate this start-up phase will last?

    Stage 2: Survival

    Think of this stage as a ‘post-validation’ phase. Whatever the business has been doing to acquire those brand fans has been working. They’ve proven that there is indeed a niche for their product or service, a clear demand and a chance to diversify their offerings, based on the incoming data. The questions businesses need to address at this stage include:

    • What are our financial goals, broken down by quarter?
    • Can we generate enough revenue to continue at break-even?
    • Is there enough incoming revenue for us to continue to remain in business while also turning our eyes towards planning out a strategy for growth?

    Stage 3: Success

    It might seem like the stage of ‘success’ is the state of ‘arrival’. This is rather a stage of crossroads. Businesses here must figure out if they plan to capitalise on the company’s achievements by expanding and growing, or if they plan to hold firm at status quo, allowing owners and teams to then focus their attention on other, often internal activities. The primary question businesses need to address at this stage is:

    • Can we capitalise on the company’s achievements by expanding and growing?

    Stage 4: Take-off

    Think about ‘take-off’ as the stage where the businesses put their money where their mouth is — quite literally. It’s the moment at which businesses must turn their attention to how they want to finance the growth they’ve determined they want to undertake. The questions businesses need to address at this stage include:

    • How do they want to finance the growth that has been determined as a good fit?
    • What is our tolerance to risk?
    • How do we delegate to scale meaningfully?

    Stage 5: Resource Maturity

    Businesses at this stage are experiencing the successful consequences of the previous stage. There is financial gain brought on by rapid growth and expansion of internal operations to respond to the scaling-up of the business’s product or service offering. The questions businesses need to address at this stage include:

    • Are we being complacent?
    • How do we innovate and stay ahead of the game?
    • What are the continuing expectations of our customers?

    Aligning actions to the growth stages

    Growth-oriented strategies are not simply about treading water because companies that are strategic don’t need to settle for the ‘something is better than nothing’ mindset.

    With the right identification of where a company is in the framework of business growth, leaders can better redirect employees to take aligned actions. They don’t have to risk failed or terminated exits, skyrocketing costs, the risk of increased competition, or any other wholly avoidable dampeners of growth.

    Research Team

    Russell Smith

    Founder & CEO

    Mark Amin

    Head of Customer Strategy & Insights
    The ideas and work Two Shape bring to our business are cutting edge.
    Rohan Milne
    Founder at Rohan Jewellers
    Two Shape are leading-edge thinkers. If you are looking for something new and better in growth marketing, they bring it.
    Rob Pyne
    CEO at HPH Solutions
    We needed a sophisticated marketing team to help us get to growth mode. The ROI is already there.
    Peter Winnall
    Managing Director at Rekon Group