Deciding what is next for your business can be very confusing.
A growth model developed by Larry Greiner depicts phases every business must go through as it grows. The age and size of a business are variables that influence the growth rate. Over time new knowledge and resource is acquired, ideas are tried and tested and businesses learn from their mistakes and failures hence enabling their growth.
Understanding where your business sits in the model might provide some clarity for the next step on your growth journey. Our adaption of Greiner’s model applies five stages of growth and encourages you to understand what stage your business is at.
1. Growth through creativity: In this early growth phase, you are likely launching a shiny new product or service to the market. As the business leader, you are involved in almost everything. You have the ideas and while you can do with some professional support you know just about enough of what to do to meet your objectives. To move from this stage to your next level of growth you will need to consider hiring some added hands to get more done.
2. Growth through direction: At this point your products have been launched, you are hiring and directing a team to manage all the admin and support that comes with running a business. You now need those professionals you weren’t keen on in your creative phase to help you see the wood for the trees and get the business running productively and efficiently.
3. Growth through delegation: You may find it hard to let go of control and allow your delegates do their job. Worse still your delegates may actually be rubbish at their job and so you aren’t actually realising the benefits of the stage. Either way, you have a team and as your business continues to grow, delegation becomes a crucial part of giving the founder and management capacity to focus on the bigger picture and determine the next initiatives.
4. Growth through coordination: In this stage, more emphasis is put on getting you and your delegates working in harmony to add more value to the business. As you look to enhance your business systems and processes, investments may also be made to facilitate growth.
5. Growth through collaboration: In its simplest term, collaboration is working together with groups or individuals to a common purpose in order to achieve a business benefit. When your business has gone through all other growth phases, collaboration either internally or externally can facilitate growth. You birth new ideas and project through new alliances, networking, mergers, outsourcing or partnerships.
The phases are not meant to follow a linear approach. You may need to revisit a previous phase to be successful on the next. Businesses that cycle through these growth phases are constantly in a state of evolution as they prepare and position for their next stage of growth. It is worth noting that after each phase there may be a calm evolutionary period as the business realises success and moves to its next stage of growth or there may be a crisis that requires the business to stabilise and restrategise to move to its next level.