Business lifecycles: Where are you?

What lifecycle is your business currently in? You may be emerging, growing, changing or exiting. Which do you want to be in?

If you’re in an emerging market, you need to know what your competitors are doing so you can stay ahead of the game. Having the right systems and processes in place is essential.

If you’re in a growing market, you must capture your market share. What are you doing to make sure all your finances are right?

If you’re in a changing market, your focus should be on minimising risk and maximising opportunity. You also need your team and staff on board so they can change with you.

If you are exiting, you need a succession plan. Who will ensure the business continues when you’re gone? And if your market is exiting, you need to work out what you will do differently to survive.

Does your skillset match your lifecycle?

Different lifecycles require different skillsets. Owners and leaders of an emerging business need different skills to owners and leaders of companies in the growing, changing and exiting stages.

An advisory board can complement your business and its lifecycle. The people on your advisory board should change over time, depending on the lifecycle you’re in.

If you’re emerging, you may create an advisory board for 18 months. You might focus firstly on your finances, then your market strategy and market positioning, and then your export channel. You may move a couple of your advisors on or off the board during these 18 months, depending on your needs.

If your market is growing, you should have an advisory board for a 36-month period. You may start with an entrepreneur who has been there, done that, and can mentor you during this time. You may also need an advisor on new product development. Are you developing the right product in the right market at the right time? Once you’ve received that advice, you may then want to focus on your in-market sales experience and corporate finance. Once you’ve received that advice, you can move on to leaning your organisation and ensuring you have the right staff management and organisational structure. Following that, you may need a mergers and acquisitions expert. As you can see, several advisors will come on and off your advisory board over this three-year period.

If you’re in a changing market, it’s more important than ever that you have the right advisors on your board at the right time. Do you need to restructure? Do you need an employment lawyer advisor? Do you need to redesign your organisation? Do you need to digitalise it? Do you need to look at your internal sales and marketing process? A changing business typically has an advisory board for 36 months.

If you are exiting the business, want to create a sellable asset, or succession plan for the next generation, an advisory board will typically assist you for an 18-month period. The board’s goal is to do the business owner out of a job, succession planning their role to the right person. Then, a growth specialist comes in and, following that, a private equity advisor or mergers and acquisitions specialist to ensure you succession plan in that 18-month period.

You need the right advisors at the right time

No matter what stage your business is at, you must have the right advisors at the right time. We work with a variety of companies and know that if they don’t have the right advisor focused on the business’s current lifecycle, the business doesn’t achieve its goals.

One of our clients wanted to succession plan, but she’d been advised that she should be growing. However, her heart and her head weren’t in it.

When we complemented her business with an advisory board, we quickly identified that she was in the exiting lifecycle. The best thing we could do for her business was to appoint a Chief Operating Officer. The result was that she was succession planned out of the business through a high-performing COO, who is now the chief executive officer.

It goes back to the saying that “one size doesn’t fit all” because one advisory board doesn’t fit all business lifecycles.

What advice do you need for the lifecycle you’re in now? Email me at [email protected].

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