There are four major phases of business development namely the start-up phase, growth phase, maturity phase, and decline phase. These stages are characterized by the need for effective business support systems capable of facilitating progression from one stage to another.
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The start-up phase
The stage in which the business comes into existence is known as the start-up phase. This stage is characterized by the implementation of plans that aim at setting up and running the business. It is during the start-up phase that the issue of capital acquisition is addressed with the likely sources of funding listed and discussed in depth. It is also during this stage that legal issues are discussed to ensure that the business is in line with the stipulated laws. In the start-up phase, businesses require high amounts of resources especially human, time and money, for a business to successfully start up these aspects must be carefully balanced (Storey 2000). It is also during the growth stage that the demand for a company’s goods and services is established it is through this process that one can establish whether the introduction of the company will impact positively the existing market. There is a need to put in place strategies to develop a strong consumer base upon the introduction of new goods and services into the market this will lead to success in the business inception stage. An example of a business in the start-up phase includes Linked In. In as much as this business has been in existence for four years, it is still considered in its growth stages as evident in its activities.
The growth phase
The next phase of development is the growth phase characterized by expansion in goods and services offered by a company. This stage is also characterized by an increase in the number of customers purchasing a company’s products or services thus increase in profit. For a company to experience growth, its products have to gain acceptance in the market this can be achieved through increasing the amount of capital. It is also in this stage that a service network is created to make customers satisfied. An example of a company in the growth stage is Virgin Atlantic owned by Sir Richard Branson. It is currently expanding its services thus offering flights to different regions across the world especially in emerging markets in Africa and Asia. It is worth noting that the company has increased the number of employees to offer better services to its consumers. Huron consulting group is also experiencing growth as seen in the increase in the number of personnel furthermore an improvement in the infrastructure within the organization point toward an increase in the level of growth (Nichole 2006).
The third stage of business development is maturity, characterized by the stabilization of cash flow. At this stage, the market networks are developed and aligned to meet the needs of the organization (Richardson 2009). The products and services offered by a company in this stage become well known as seen in the increase in the number of consumers who purchase the company’s products. If an organization reaches this stage it should consider diversifying its products to remain profitable. An example of a company in this stage is Apple Inc as seen in the number of consumers who purchase the iPhone, iPod, and other multimedia devices. This has led to an increase in the company’s profitability.
The fourth and final stage of business development is the decline stage. It is characterized by a reduction in the profitability of a business especially as a result of changes in market conditions. A business enterprise needs to re-strategize to survive the effects of this period. An example of a business in the decline stage is AIG insurance that is currently plagued by controversies especially in the allocation of dividends. This is despite the fact world is experiencing difficulties due to the global recession. There is a need for organizations in this stage to carry out corrective measures that may include changing.
A business needs to understand the aspects of business development to achieve maximum output from such a process. Several businesses such as Virgin Atlantic, Huron consulting group, facebook, and Apple Inc are at different stages of development. They, therefore, provide information on how a business can react to this process to improve productivity and profitability.
Nichole, T. (2006). America’s 100 hottest new companies. Web.
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Richardson,T. (2009). Enterprise and venture capital. Allen & Unwin publishers.
Storey, D. (2000). Small business: perspectives on business and management. Taylor & Francis publishers.