I recently read about the five stages of small business growth in the Harvard Business Review by Neil Churchill and Virginia. L. Lewis. The article discussed the evolutionary process of a small business. It illustrated how the growth of a business is characterized by studying its size and its maturity.
There is a direct correlation between size and maturity. Ideally, as a business matures, so too it grows in size. Yet, we also need to consider two things: this may not be the goal for all small businesses, and we can’t reduce a whole industry and all its many different goals to a single graph. Luckily, the article was in depth. It showed a variety of diagrams to illustrate the stages of business growth, which I may discuss in detail in another article. For now, what struck me was one specific graph that showed growth as a result of crisis.
The article defines the five stages of business growth as Stage 1: Existence; Stage 2: Survival; Stage 3: Success; Stage 4: Take Off; Stage 5: Resource Maturity. While each of these stages are worthy of discussion, for the sake of this article what I would like to talk about is that it is a crisis that leads to growth or evolution, and in some cases dare I say revolution, of a business.
As a manager of my own business, seeing crisis in a chart displayed as a measure for business growth was exciting. Seeing obstacles that shook the business to the core as a catalyst for growth suddenly made obstacles inspiring.
For instance, in stage 1 of a small business existence, the typical crisis common to all business is the question of what kind of management or structure is right to run this business. It is called the crisis of leadership. In stage 2, the survival mode, it is the crisis of autonomy that leads to growth. As the business keeps growing, new crises arise and it is the management of these that leads to a strong, healthy, successful and larger business.
It helped me to see these scary situations in a new light and I encourage you to see the things that may have shaken your business as catalysts for growth as well.
Since 1994, Rishi Gerald, founder and CEO of RishiVision and entrepreneurial coach, has empowered thousands of businesses. Rishi has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and a BBA in accounting. He has spent nearly twenty years coaching, consulting, managing and supporting thousands of businesses from new startups to active global leaders.