When Your Business Has Reached Maturity – Part 1
I still remember learning about the business lifecycle in college. The bit that always made me roll my eyes was the business’s transition point at the stage of maturity. That point where for whatever magical reason the business would plummet into decline, or rejuvenate into a new period of growth. I wondered what dodo would let a business get to that stage and why they didn’t choose to get out earlier, or stay on top of trends as they arose.
Little did 18-year-old me know that at the age of 42 I would be standing at that exact point. (Well actually, it’s a little more like curling up into the foetal position, but let’s imagine standing).
Hi, I’m Kerry Grace, I’m the owner of a mature business.
One of the biggest problems I have is that it’s not just a business anymore, it’s an entity that has gently walked beside my family through births and deaths, life changes, success and failure. Sometimes dragging it’s heals, but it’s always there, in the background providing for my family, keeping my mind occupied.
Truth be known, it’s more like another family member than a business. My kids don’t remember life before the business (for my youngest it has existed for her whole life) and I’m not sure that I do either.
Because I’ve always sought out new and innovative ways to do things, it had never struck me before that I was actually arriving at that transition point, if not, already on the slippery slope to decline.
I guess awakenings happen at different times for all of us. Major life changes, births and deaths and holidays, to name a few. Mine came at the memorial of a former colleague, a gentle and unassuming man. A memorial that was attended by many of the people who inspired and encouraged me through my early years in business. People who carried the integrity, creativity and belief systems that fitted perfectly with the reasons why I started the business.
I realised with a jolt that things had changed. Sure there were still good people, but the restraints in which they now had to operate had increased. It was no longer about love. It was about good business decisions and managing red tape.
That may sound flaky to you, and let me assure you nobody was more surprised about the realisation than I. I realised that I was trying to operate a business from a philosophical point of view that is no longer supported in the marketplace (well, not out loud at least).
And then it hit me between the eyes, I’d been so busy working in the business that I’d failed to notice the realities of the changing external environment. I’d tried to remain positive, I’d experimented, I’d worried where I could have been implementing solid forward moving action.
I’m writing to you at that exact point of change. In the exact moment where I make the decision to slide downwards, or hang on for a bumpy rollercoaster ride.
What happens next? I’ll explore this in part 2, coming up soon…
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