Every business has its life cycle that it undergoes during the course of its entire existence. It is widely accepted that businesses across the world experience four principal stages of existence – Start-up Phase, Growth Phase, Maturity Phase and Decline Phase. Invariably, all businesses undergo these phases.
Start-up phase is that phase during which a business comes into existence. It is during this phase that plans are conceptualized and implemented regarding how the business should be set up, how it should be run, where to get the start up capital from and how to keep the cash flow going. During the start up phase, legalities of setting up the business are taken care of. Every business, which is starting up will normally require a large investment of capital, lots of time and effort, setting up of good profitable and stable customer base, money to buy raw materials, manpower recruitment etc. Businesses usually arrange for their own limited resources to run their activities. At first, demand is assessed and/or created for the products or services the business wishes to offer. Then manufacturing facility and processes are established (if it is a business engaged in manufacturing) or processes for providing service are established (if the business will be service provider) or goods for sale are purchased (if it will be business engaged in trade).
During this phase of its existence, businesses experience expansion of its activities and enhancement of its customer base. It is an exciting period for the business. Its products and services are gaining acceptance in the marketplace and customers are patronizing them in increasing numbers. Profit margins also tend to increase during this phase. During this phase, the business require infusion of additional capital to buy capital equipment to increase production (for manufacturing businesses), to establish additional service network (for service providers) or procure more goods for trade (for trading businesses).
This is the third stage of a business development. During this phase cash flows stabilize and establishment of marketing networks and operational channels are completed. The respective brands become well known and there is a stable and faithful customer following. This is an ideal time for businesses to consider expansion or diversification.
This is the last phase of any business. It is also called the terminal phase. During this phase, the business experiences market pressures from all quarters, and are unable to handle them successfully. The inevitable is cash flow drying up and losses mount up. Most businesses fold up during this phase. There are resilient businesses that do survive this phase and go on to succeed on a new lease of life.
Business Support Software:
There are many support processes that any business would need during its existence. To support these business processes, softwares are hitting the market that cater to both new and experienced entrepreneurs. These softwares help business owners and managers to manage the business operations well. They are worth the money spent on them.