Business is like a human being. It goes through the life-cycle of development, from childhood to adulthood. Just the way a human being requires basic needs in order to survive, a business also requires basic essentials and nurturing for the business to survive. A business goes through growth, maturity and it also ages, where it begins to decline and eventually dies.
The Start-up or Birth
This point is where the concept is being executed, a lot of innovation is found in this stage. The stage where the business is less than a year old requires cash-flow to keep it running; this is when the entrepreneur should also give enough time to the business and be open to new ideas to nurture it. Just like a child is dependent for nutrition and attention, so is a business at this stage.
This is where there is a HUGE increase in business. Acceleration in growth is observed. The entrepreneur at this stage should plan well for the long-term, the processes should also be set.The business will also face a lot of competition, as other people will replicate the same kind of business due to its growth, to get a piece of the margins.This can be equalled to the stage where the child reaches adolescence.The young adult still needs guidance through school and from the parents, in order to gather a strong future.
At this stage, the business is running smoothly, the processes are developed and operational.The sales rise gradually and the employees have now meshed well and are working more like a family.The business has also established solid relationships with customers and vendors.This is the adult stage; where a person can easily do things for himself and also make critical decisions.
Saturation, Decline or Innovation
At this stage three things can happen:
The business can continue getting the same revenues over a period of time.This is mostly common for businesses who have been in existence for at least ten years.
It can also go on a decline and even die one day. For a business at this stage, there is a lot of under-performance from the staff, the service-quality is low and this eventually leads to failure. As an aged person, the businesses will need a lot of attention to fix this without which it could die one day.
As a business dived into the saturation stage and the decline stage, it’s important for the business to come up with new innovations, new product and service ideas.This can be equalled to another birth/start-up. In large companies who have been there for a hundred years, have been able to survive the decline, as they acquire small businesses, who in turn come up with new innovations, others come up with new products and encourage innovations within the organisation.
SMEs in Kenya may explore a variety of options and business ideas designed to influence the enterprise’s life cycle-from new products to new markets to new management philosophies. After all, once a business begins to enter a decline phase, it is not inevitable that the company will continue to decline into ultimate failure; many companies are able to reverse such slides.