The Business Success Cycle

All businesses start the same – someone has a product, service, an idea or a particular set of skills that can be exchanged for value. Some businesses start with a hot product and that is market-ready and get off to a very quick start. Others require more nurturing and take hard work to grow. Businesses also come in many different types (service provider, retail, manufacturing, etc.) offering an almost infinite number of products and services.

However, whether you are selling mobile phones to the world or selling your harvest to a local grain distributor, most business owners experience the same concerns and challenges as they pass through the varying levels of business success.

We refer to these phases as the Business Success Cycle. Some businesses work through all the levels quickly and are sold off for a profit. Some grow very slowly and stay in the early stages of development for a variety of reasons, despite the owner’s efforts to grow.

We've broken the Business Success Cycle of ownership into four levels:

Success Level 1: Technician Entrepreneur
This is where every business owner takes the first steps to make their dream of financial independence come true. There is a frenzy of activity during this time and business owners are often left wondering what to do to get their business to the next level.

Success Level 2: Business Manager
As an organization establishes a foothold in the marketplace, the owner can grow the business beyond him or herself. During this period the challenge is to handle growing pains and delegate, laying the foundation for reaching the Executive level.

Success Level 3: Executive Leader
The third level is where the business owner can step out of the role of manager of daily operations and into the role of director of operations and strategic planning for the business. The owner will have a management team reporting to him or her, who will help the owner shape the future of the business. Few business owners reach this level of business success, and those that do concentrate on these larger issues so they can grow into Level 4.

Success Level 4: Visionary Owner
Finally, the business virtually runs itself. A solid management team is accountable to the business owner, its employees, vendors and clients. The business owner is more of a director than CEO, ensuring that things are going well. Providing leadership, often from afar, the owner is not involved in day-to-day operations, and only intervenes in operations in times of duress or transition. The business owner can now focus on other opportunities and the business is an investment more than an occupation. Like many visionary owners with businesses at this level of maturity, they leverage their success by owning and investing in multiple successful businesses and business ventures.