Is your business an infant, an adolescent, or a mature adult? Let us help you determine where your business is on the maturity scale.

According to Michael Gerber, there are three phases of a business: the Infancy Stage, the Adolescent Stage, and the Maturity Stage.

With that, there are seven stages within a business, according to Chuck Blackman:

  • Start-Up: This is the stage where you dream about what your business would like. You can envision your goals coming to fruition and even as you go to sleep, you find yourself saying, “Oh, this is how my business is going to be.” It is a beautiful stage.
  • Survival: You most likely already have chills from this term alone – and not the good kind. This is the stage where you discover that despite your fantasies and the elaborate plans you had created in your head, running a business is difficult and expensive. Your business is still not getting any income and so, you may be using up your savings or taking out a loan to pay for expenses. This could become depressing and if you lack the passion, it is quite easy  to give up.
  • Subsistence: This is the stage where you start breaking even. You can pay your business’s expenses no matter how much money comes in. You are not only breaking even but also doing so frequently and, oh my, it feels like you can finally breathe. You can even give yourself a small salary. Any expenses associated with your business are no longer paid for out of pocket or with savings. Better than survival, without a doubt.
  • Stability: The business not only breaks even but also makes a profit. This is wonderful! Even after paying your assistants, the cleaners, your internet provider, and other expenses, there is still money in your account. Yes, you can now purchase that pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on for months! You can even start saving money. However, no matter how enticing it may be, it is crucial not to linger here. Continue to strive to reach the seventh stage.
  • Success: At this stage, you are not only making profits, but you have other producers in your business. For instance, if you’re an event planner, you have other event planners who can manage events within your business. You can then decide which responsibilities to accept as a result. You can choose to provide a vision or to manage the company’s more strategic elements. The only drawback to this stage is that you might truly believe you’ve made it. When things appear to be going well, it might be easy to relax and allow certain things to fall away, but this could lead to a return to stages four and three. So, continue to put effort into it if you find yourself regressing. 
  • Significance: The name alone is fantastic! This is a wonderful stage to be in because you now have management in place, including accountants, sales representatives, etc., and you may probably choose a certain area or function that you would like to focus on. However, it gives you a false impression of maturity to have these folks doing various roles. Never assume that your business is mature and that you have made it. According to Chuck Blakeman, now is not the time to unwind. Although your managers are in place, they are not in charge. There is still a lot of training to do, and you need to make sure the managers buy into your vision and what you want them to do. Therefore, even though you don’t have to be involved in day-to-day operations, you still need to be part of it. In other words, sadly, this is not the time to take one-month vacations three times a year. 
  • Succession: Ladies and gentlemen, this stage is incredible! You have managers and employees in charge that you’ve delegated to oversee various departments inside your company. They are aware of your vision and are vested with ownership of it. You work with the general manager, and you meet and go over reports at the end of the week or month. This might be a good time to venture into another industry.

Now is the perfect time to take a vacation!

Where does your business stand? Is it an infant – probably at the start-up and survival stage? Is it an adolescent in the subsistence stage? Or is it a mature business in the significance, succession or success stage?