Would you agree that it’s easier to start a business now than 20 years ago? According to an article by the World Bank, the time to start a new small is favorable.
This can be attributed to many different factors. According to this article, 18 years ago, it took entrepreneurs worldwide 52 days to register a business, on average. Now, it only takes around 20 days. More countries have opened online channels making the registration process more convenient, accessible, and affordable than before.
If you’ve been planning to start a business, now’s probably the best time to do so.
Why? Because we’re seeing a shift in the way people do business. The recent pandemic has greatly transformed the market landscape.
Due to COVID restrictions, consumers were initially pushed to transact purely online, relying on market makers such as Amazon, eBay, and other internet-based platforms, but now that everything’s slowly getting back to “normal,” signs are saying that the consumer behaviors might not go back to the level it was before COVID hit.
Regardless, business is business, and in this article, MarketAtomy will share with you something crucial—the five phases of business growth. This is a particularly handy piece of information to know, especially if you plan to start a business soon.
Why Learn the Five Phases?
Think about your primary motivation for why you’re planning to engage in business. Nine times out of ten, people will start a business for the additional income stream. While there’s nothing wrong with equating business with money, this is only half of the story.
Successful business models that we see in the present such as Amazon and Paypal, paint a rosy picture of the possibilities of starting a business. Spend ten minutes on Instagram, and you’ll be bombarded with profiles of people who claim to have made it big selling online and the like. But, if you notice, they’ll only advertise their profits—”I earned xxx amount of $$$ in just one month doing one strategy.” This will lead you to think that as long as you spend on this one thing, you’ll be able to make it.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, they often make it appear that building a business is as easy as a walk in the park and one-dimensional—it’s not. And, as long as your heart is in the right place, your business will surely make it—that’s not often the case. All in all, It’s quite rare to see influencers who are on the side of caution when it comes to encouraging people to engage in business.
That’s why we’re doing this because we want you to take a step back and look at this with a more discerning eye. Be more objective, strategic, and calculating. Building a business and bringing it to success is indeed life-changing and rewarding, but the opposite could also happen. So we’re here to guide you so that you’ll be prepared for things to come.
1. See It
The first phase in every business foundation is what we, at MarketAtomy, like to call the “see it” phase.
When you look around you, you see all sorts of interactions. From these interactions, you see pain points, areas of struggle, areas of improvement. In other words, these are problems that make an otherwise hassle-free transaction inconvenient—think about the last time you ordered your food or went to pay for something, etc. So what are the processes involved in the current status quo that’s broken and, if fixed, can greatly promote convenience?
The answer to that question is “the idea,” which is where all businesses start. Jeff Bezos knew that people needed books. A bookstore should be able to supply people with books, but fortunately for him, not everyone lives near a bookstore, and there was a new invention created that would allow people from across the US to buy things online—the internet. Amazon started as a bookstore, selling books and making them accessible to everyone. From there, the rest is history.
2. Prove It
Your business idea will not go much further until you bring it to the next level. This is what we call the “prove it” stage. Just like any prudent scientist, you do not accept anything just because you’ve seen it happen once or twice. Instead, you investigate, you ask questions, you observe. The most important question to answer in this phase is: “How can I profit by solving this problem?”
Thus, you should focus on finding out if you have a market. Find out whether there’s truly a need for you to solve a problem, not because you personally like it, but because there’s a certain number of people who are willing to pay you to solve the problem for them. Only after testing your theories and assumptions can you truly say that what you have is a verified hypothesis, and consequently, the business model you built around is something viable and feasible.
3. Build It
Once you have the idea in place, it’s now time to come up with a business model and lay down the groundwork to build your business. Contact possible suppliers and play with certain game theory elements to develop multiple scenarios that may affect your business.
Come up with a list of costs, funding sources, workforce sources, logistics providers, etc. This is the part where your financial resources become useful. For example, you may have to shell out a few bucks to rent a place, procure materials, hire your crew, etc.
More importantly, this is where you come up with different strategies concerning sales, marketing, and customer service. And this is where you should plan for your objectives in the short and long term.
4. Fund It
The challenge to every startup is where to get the funding. Too often, we resign to the fact that the institution to go to is the bank or the credit union closest to us.
Unless you have a stellar record with these institutions, your business loan application might have little chance of getting approved. But does that mean you should abandon your “dream” of building a business altogether? Of course not! It might be a setback for sure, but sometimes, we only need to look at our business model a second time.
After being denied funding, we sometimes realize that we don’t need additional funds from these institutions or investors (who may sound like they have our best interest in mind but are just really waiting for a chance to take over our business).
Being denied funding sometimes means we start with a handicap, that’s all. Then after proving that the business churns out income consistently, we can go back to the bank with the proof they need to grant us that business loan.
5. Grow It
You might think that you just want a simple business, and there’s no need to concern yourself with any expansion plans, but you want to be prepared in case you change your mind.
Why did we start this business in the first place? Was it purely for profit? Probably not. We started this business because we genuinely wanted to make the world a better place for everyone around us. So, if we see the same problem plaguing others, isn’t it only natural that we extend help to them? We might be embarking on a journey to business expansion before we know it by deciding to do so.
To avoid the pitfalls of being “too big, too soon”, we should start thinking of expansion plans as early as possible. So that means we have to revisit company processes from procurement, processing, logistics, manpower, and even human resource management.
The key here is to make the growth sustainable and strategic. First, you have to make the right calls at the right time, and the only way you could do that is to maintain a good grip of company data. Nowadays, you can have all sorts of data available at the tip of your fingers with a few clicks of a button. Gone are the days when you decide on business expansion purely on instincts and gut feel. Instead, guided by data about consumer trends, you can make one effective decision after another.
That’s the Five Phases of Business Growth. Now that we’ve discussed that, you probably can’t wait to give your business idea a shot. However, you’re wondering if starting a business in the middle of a pandemic is prudent. Here’s what we think.
The pandemic forced hundreds of thousands of small businesses to close. But for some, it was a rare opportunity to finally start one. According to government data, during the past 20 months, Americans have started new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade seizing on pent-up demand and new opportunities after the pandemic shut down and reshaped the economy.
Online transactions have given opportunities for hundreds, if not thousands, of businesses to thrive and flourish—from food-related businesses to online classes to online fitness classes— you name it, and there’s probably a healthy market for it.
There’s a reason why that’s so. As people spend week after week in lockdown, they’ve saved up a great deal of their disposable income. With nothing to spend it on, they’ve resorted to the internet for something to purchase. As an entrepreneur, this is where you should put your skills to the test. Be a keen observer of ongoing trends and upcoming opportunities that you can capitalize on later.
The immediate challenge to keeping your business afloat is still the safety and security of your entire crew. Currently, 58 percent of Americans are vaccinated, and people are beginning to feel more confident about finally going out.
According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 20-30% of Americans still refuse to get vaccinated.
While this may still allow us to achieve herd immunity, it still leaves a lot of room for worry, especially if by doing so, it might cause another COVID mutation similar to the delta variant.
Getting vaccinated should be a personal choice under our right to life and liberty. Based on conflicting research, it may cause more harm than good. The choice of vaccination is a personal one.
Either way, what’s important is that consumer confidence is slowly creeping back to pre-pandemic levels. Whether vaccinated or not, staying alert and adhering to health protocols prescribed by the OSHA, CDC, and WHO, will provide peace of mind during this pandemic.
Starting a business is both an exciting and daunting task. If you’re planning to start a business for the first time, it’s easy to focus on the profits. This single focus will lure you to false promises you see online that “guarantee” your exposure (by asking you to spend a fortune on marketing tools and expensive websites). Do not fall into that trap.
Starting a business involves a lot of patience, strategy, preparation, and of course, luck. But once these come together, it’s the perfect recipe for success. MarketAtomy brings a full arsenal of resources committed to helping small and micro business owners maneuver their success journey. You also have at your fingertips our weekly podcast called “Charged Up Studio” chargedupstudio.live, and monthly informational webinars through our academy at marketatomy.academy/featured-events/.
To find out more about how to start or grow a successful business, please check out MarketAtomy.Academy.