I sometimes feel like we are in all 4 phases at the same time and throughout my entrepreneurial career, I never paid much attention to this. And now that I think about it, I never knew what I should do with this information. For example, we now have a new temporary staffing service: international staffing and A1 Payrolling. We are one of the few providers in the Netherlands. Other companies are not yet active in this area, but this is only a matter of time. We are clearly in the growth stage. We are trying to capture market share as quickly as possible and to create customer loyalty by providing top service at competitive prices to reduce the chances of competitors entering the market.
Writing this, I realize that knowledge and understanding of the stages described by you are indeed important because you can anticipate what is certain to come. You can stay one step ahead of new developments and threats.
When I take a more critical look at myself, I see that I have always been successful in the “growth” and “fading” stages. When our companies in Slovakia and Romania reached the “mature” stage we did poorly. I assume the “mature” and “terminal” stages do not fit in well in our company culture, and certainly not in mine. So before we enter such a stage, we should be sure we know where we are. And because I was not aware of what was ahead of us while we were rapidly growing, a couple of years later we faced unexpected big challenges. With the right insights, this would not have happened.
At this moment, we have a number of services in the “mature” and “terminal” stages, while one of our services is clear in the “growth” stage. This activity increases our margins and will take our company to a higher level (in terms of sales and profits).
So Jan, I agree with you. The entrepreneur has a strong interest in knowing the stage his company is in. Whether you are a large or small company. Insight helps you to anticipate. I think a lot of entrepreneurs of smaller companies intuitively respond to market changes. But intuition is not enough and for many entrepreneurs, there is work to be done!
I would say those big companies such as IBM, GE and Volkswagen do this exceptionally well, whereas Nokia and Microsoft do poorly. And it does not have to be so complicated. For example, if you are in the growth phase now, you should realize that you need to keep your costs under control because soon margins will go down.
Thank you, Jan!