In our previous article, we compared Market Requirement documents, Software Requirement documents, and Product Requirement Documents and highlighted what works best for the startup journey. This time, we would like to point out the 5 stages of any startup lifecycle phases. If you’ve recently made the decision to go it alone and set up your own startup lifecycle, congratulations!
There’s a lot of work ahead of you as you plan, launch and manage your brand new business, but the process will ultimately be a rewarding one.
Knowing what is to come in the weeks, months and years ahead will be a big help to you. There are several startup lifecycle phases to be mindful of, each with its own opportunities and challenges.
Not all businesses follow the exact same stages in the project life cycle. For example, some startups launch and are bought out straight away!
However, by knowing the five typical phases of the startup life cycle, you’ll be aware of what you need to overcome. You’ll also be well-prepared to adapt and take your fledgling company to the next level.
So, what are the five phases of startup lifecycle management? Let’s find out.
Stage one: the seed stage (also known as the planning stage or R&D stage in startup lifecycle phases)
Polish out your idea
The Seed stage (or pre-development stage) is when you start building your brand and getting ready to launch your product or service. This is also known as the “idea” phase. During this stage, you should focus on creating an identity for yourself and your company. You need to build a strong brand image so people will recognize you and associate your name with quality products and services.
Why is this stage of the startup lifecycle phase called the seed stage? Because your business idea is like a small seed! You need to nurture and develop it at this point, so it grows and thrives into a successful business.
At this early stage of your startup life cycle, you may just have a small idea about what your business will be. For example, if you want to launch a startup that specializes in mobile app development, you may only have a few thoughts about the type of app you want to create. You will want to see if there is scope for your ideas at the seed stage and how you will turn it into an efficient business.
The critical thing to do in these 5 stages of the startup journey phase is to conduct thorough market research. According to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail because there is no market interest. Talk to family, friends, and prospective customers to see if your idea is viable, identify the state of the market, and what you need to do to get ready to launch.
If you are looking to sell a product, you may want to consider creating an MVP or minimum viable product. This is a basic, no-frills version of your final product that you can use to gather market research, as well as potential interest from investors.
As Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank said: ‘You’re selling the vision and delivering the minimum feature set to visionaries, not everyone.’
If you want more ideas to help you through the seed stage, why not check out some of the most inspiring books, by some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs? Want more? – Check the articles that we are suggesting to read.
Stage two: the launch stage
Ready, Set, Go
The next step in the 5 stages of startup lifecycle is the launch. You’ve done your research, you’ve determined that the time is right to begin your venture, and it’s time to get started!
If you’re just starting out with your business, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do. However, there’s no reason why you can’t start small. Start with one thing at a time and work your way up.
A lot of startups think that they will see the money roll in straight away, but this isn’t always the case. During this phase sales will start slow but will steadily grow over time. Just do all you can to bring in the business, keep customers happy and manage your cash flow.
One of the things you will need to think about at this stage of the project lifecycle is the tools you will use to power your business. Startup Stash is a directory of tools (both free and paid-for) that you can utilize at the start of your business journey. In addition to that check our directory of tools, that we’ve checked and used during our startup journey.
Stage three: the growth stage (also known as the expansion stage or ascent stage)
Promote your business
Your startup is now bringing in money, and profits are rapidly growing. Awesome!
Growing your company brings brand new challenges though. You may need to look at bringing on new staff, introducing formal processes to keep customers happy, and starting to advertise to bring in more conversions. This is where you continue to build your brand and expand your customer base. You should use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+ to promote your business.
You need to make decisions at this stage carefully. Hiring the wrong talent or introducing new products without doing the right research may cause problems later on. There are also external factors to take into consideration, like competitors, industry trends, and the ever-changing state of the economy.
Stage four: the maturity stage (also known as the saturation stage in startup lifecycle phases)
Reinvent your business
The maturity stage is generally the longest of the 5 stages of the startup lifecycle. At the mature stage, you will need to make sure that you have a good understanding of how your business works. You must also understand how to manage your finances, employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
Once you’ve expanded your business, you may find that sales and profits eventually peak and then stabilize. To jump-start sales, you may want to look at reinventing your business. For example, you could look at selling to a brand new target audience or introducing a new product.
Stage five: the decline stage
Sell your business
What goes up eventually comes down. This is when sales slow and profits decline
There are a few options available at the 5 stages of the startup. You may want to close the company, reinvent your business if you haven’t done so already, or alternatively, consider selling your business to an investor.
Selling your business to another entrepreneur may be a very lucrative option. For example, let’s take a look at the app development market. The global market is predicted to reach a staggering $407 billion by 2026, meaning plenty of opportunities to make money from a successful business.
The final question is… what to do after you choose to sell your business? You can take the money and do something nice with it or alternatively… create a brand new startup journey and go back to stage one!
We’ve already shared the visualization of all 5 project stages here, check them out.
Are you ready to take the next step in your startup life cycle journey?
Specializing in lean startup methodology, we have the experience and expertise you need to help resolve your issues and help get your new startup up and running through these 5 stages of a startup.
What are you waiting for? If you have an idea, get in touch with us today, and let’s work together to turn that idea into reality. And sure, your feedback regarding our article – Startup Lifecycle would be highly appreciated