A business “grows up” in three stages. But unlike people, the stages of business development have little to do with age, and everytrhing to do with the skills of the owner and the systems and processes built into the business. The stages of business deveopment are the following:

Stage one: Foundation – Get your house in order. “First things first” as the saying goes, and in a business the main purpose before growth can happen is to establish a foundation of sound, effective practices. When the foundation is in place, then the business can grow in a stable manageable way.

“Without a foundation, growth is chaotic and succeeds on chance.”

Stage two: Growth – Growing your business. In this stage a business gets bigger, better, more complex and more sophisticated. It grows. In growth, the rewards become greater, but so do the risks. The stresses and strains in a business are different in growth than they are in the foundation stage: but without the foundation, growth is troublesome.

“Viable, effective, successful growth depends on a solid foundation.”

Stage three: Freedom – Achieving the dream. A mature business has fully developed systems and is a system dependant rather than people dependant. A mature business operates reliably, predictably and productively no mater in habits the organization chart. In a mature business, the owners are free to chose how involved or uninvolved they want to be in the affairs of the business. The business can operate smoothly with or without them.

“Most owners believe their companies are further along than they really are which instills a false believe that they don’t need to address foundational issues. Issues usually relating to less than desirable employee morale, client retention and bottom line profits.”

You can have a multi-generation business that is 50 years old yet still lacks certain elements of a sound foundation, one that supports growth and sustainability. If owners truly want to enjoy what a company can provide in the way of security, value and freedom. Then they should look (honestly) at where they are though the filter of the three stages blueprint. Only then can progress be made in breaking through to the next level.