I officially started my business in January 2012, and my nephew was born a year later on January 31, 2013. As I watch my nephew grow up, I realized that the first few years of a child’s life is similar to the first few years of the growth of a business. In this blog post I will share the four stages of growing a business that I learned from my 3 yr old nephew.
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When it comes to business, the pregnancy stage is the stage in which the business idea has formed and the possibility of starting a business is growing in the mind of the future business owner. This stage has no defined time period it could be very short (a few weeks), or very long (a few years). When my sister was pregnant with my nephew it was a difficult pregnancy, she was very hormonal and uncomfortable throughout her pregnancy. Similarly, this stage can be difficult or easy for the business owner as it will differ for every business owner. During this period, you start to:
- Wonder how your product or service will work
- Research your industry
- Research your target audience
- Consider business names
- Think about creating some type of business plan
This is when your business becomes a reality. Typically, the things that happen at birth include:
- Registering your business- This should take the form of a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.
- Opening a business bank account- It’s always important to separate business and personal bank accounts
- Acquiring a business credit card- a great way to get access to the funds that you will need to start your business
- Registering your domain name- having a business website is a must.
The birth of a business is far less painful than the birth of a child, but it is important to set the foundation for your business at this stage and to have the fundamental pieces of your business in place.
New Born Baby Stage
Now that your baby is here, you have to learn what works well for your baby. For most parents it is a period of adjusting to a newborn. A newborn requires a lot of attention, nurturing, and energy. As a parent, you have to sacrifice a lot for your baby (sleep, time, money, etc.), but in the end it is all worth it when you see the smiling face of your child looking up at you. As a business owner, you have to sacrifice a lot, especially at the beginning stage of your business. You have to experiment and learn what works best for your business. You have to spend a lot of time building the business and nurturing your clients. A lot of your time, energy, and money are invested in the business. This stage is very difficult, but when you make it through the very early stage of business and your “baby business” becomes more self sufficient, it gets easier.
This stage is much easier because your child is more self sufficient. However, you still have many growing pains and milestones that your child needs to accomplish like walking, talking, and potty training. Potty training my nephew was a little difficult, he showed no interest in potty training at first, but eventually, one day, he decided it was time. Similar to a business, your efforts may not seem to be working at first, but you have to persist, then one day it all starts to come together. All the time and effort you put into creating systems, and doing certain activities in your business starts to pay off.
When my nephew was learning to walk he fell many times, but he learned the importance of picking yourself up and continuing to try, and then one day he was walking like he had never fallen. There will be many times in business where you fall (make a mistake), but it is important to learn from it and keep trying just like a toddler who is learning to walk.
Right now, both my business and my nephew are at the toddler stage, both are learning what it takes to make it in the world. My nephew is curious about everything and always questions “why”. I think it is important to always be curious as to what you can do next in your business and question why things are done the way that they are in your industry. Questioning and being inquisitive is what helps you to learn and grow as a person and as a business entity.
I know there are still lots of stages and milestones for both of them to go through including the pre-teens, teens, young adult, adult, etc., and I look forward to both the growth of my nephew, and the stages he will go through, and the growth and stages my business will go through.
What about you? What stage of business are you in? Would you compare your stage of business to the growth of a child? Share your comments below: