Business Development

5 Stages of Your Business

5 Stages Business ScorecardIt’s time to shift your mindset. Even as you focus on day-to-day priorities, you need to step back and see the bigger picture — a much bigger picture involving your overall business.

Regardless of your company’s age and business size — you’re on a long-term journey from entrepreneur to exit (E2E). During that journey, you’ll witness dramatic market evolutions. You and your business must evolve, too.

ChannelE2E’s Mission is to help IT service providers successfully navigate each business stage, maximizing your performance every step of the way. VAR. MSP. CSP. Total Service Provider (TSP). The technical jargon doesn’t matter when you focus on the bigger picture — which involves five critical stages for your business. Take a look:

Stage 1 Startup Icon1. Startup Stage

This begins with your initial business development and seed initiative. You and your co-founders have “a great idea” that deserves some time, attention and testing.

Maybe it’s a new way to offer IT services. Maybe it involves actual intellectual property. Whatever the case, you’ve got a germ of an idea — and you want to incubate it. If the testing goes well, perhaps you’ll formalize an IT product or service. If you survive the initial business development, cash and management challenges, you’ll onboard your first customers.

Typical challenges during this stage include:

  • The ownership: Who owns percentage stakes in the company? What are the buy-sell triggers in the ownership agreement to protect all co-founders over the long-haul?
  • The concept: Shaping a business idea that has a real path to profits.
  • The funding: Most IT service providers bootstrap their businesses. It’s rare, but if you’re developing intellectual property you may attract dollars from angel investors and perhaps even a VC.
  • The assets: What assets are you going to trademark and/or potentially patent?
  • First wins: Gaining early market acceptance from a few trusting customers.
  • Who does what?: Establishing an initial business structure of roles and responsibilities.
  • Stage 1 Example Company: Deep Information Sciences, a data-centric solution provider that emerged from stealth mode earlier this year.
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2 Comments and 2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks


    Paul Barton:

    You seem to be taking a very optimistic view of each business stage. What about the stage when you’re desperate to raise more money? Or what about the stage when your revenues are declining and you need to figure out what staff cuts to make? Your approach is glass half full but that’s not always the reality in business. Sometimes it’s glass half empty or worse.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Paul: I can’t debate your points. You’re right — we tend to be glass-half-full type of folks here. And ideally, executives are constantly (1) strategizing (2) executing and (3) setting course corrections proactively to avoid some of the challenges you mentioned. But of course — the challenges are out there. We researched a range of “business stage” reports (from Harvard Business Review and others, mentioned at the bottom of the blog) before solidifying our own strategy around these five — startup, growth, sustained performance, pivot, exit.

      We look forward to producing case studies — very regularly — that profile IT service providers as they navigate each stage. Thanks for your readership. Keep the constructive criticism coming.


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