Grow your business—we want to help!
The beauty of small business is the diversity of small business. You might own a small boutique retail shop, manufacture furniture, or operate an eCommerce website. This diversity sends a message that business growth is different across the small business landscape. The truth is, successful growth principles and stages are the same! The truth about growth doesn't change, only the scale does.
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Growth Capital by Growth Stage
Capital means money—and, that seems pretty simple, right? Where do entreprenuers get their money to start their business journey? Where does the fuel money come from to launch the rocket ship? We've worked with our expert team—from boot strapping former C-Level advisors to our community-focused experienced lenders—to answer all these questions and more!
The stages of small business growth.
What stage are you in? Depending on your stage of growth—really the stage of your business—your growth needs, plans, and goals differ. Let's look at each!
You become a business owner when you are in business—you are in business when you have a customer. Another term for customer is market. Marketing (i.e., customering) is therefore paramount in this stage! Can you get enough customers? Are you able to deliver your products and services? Can you do it well enough to prove your business model is viable? Some other key questions and factors in this stage:
- You got that first customer! Yay! Can it scale? How many more people out there are like that first customer (think like them, believe like them, act like them, want what they want)?
- "Yowzer!" You're doing the math and realizing the cost of running a start-up is expensive! You need capital! Where is the money coming from? Is there enough? When will you become profitable?
- Sadly, most businesses do not come out of this stage. Here is the main reason: the start-up capital runs out! This is a key statistic Pathway Coaches want to reduce. We want you to move onto #2, and making sure money doesn't run out is the key. Let's talk about how to invest those profits back into the business, how to boot strap, and how to use your capital to move you forward!
You (the business) versus You (the owner/founder)
As your business dynamics move through growth stages towards maturity, so too does your role/responsibility as the owner/founder.
When you're brand new, it's you! You are the business! Things are pretty simple, because you the owner is the business—fully in it, doing it all. You are supplying everything: energy to grow the business, direction on where to take it, and capital. You're in the thick of it, but it probably feels like a toddler does wearing adult sized clothing.
When you're surviving, you are likely being supported by a key employee of two (e.g. sales manager or foreman). These key employees do not make the key decesions—you do. Instead, these key employees are working to complete your instructions/goals through their expertise. Therefore, it is important that you give clear instructions and allow their expertise to help you refine specific business goals.
When you're succeeding, you've approached an intersection as the founder/owner. A lot of businesses stay here in #3 because the owner does not desire to grow further. In that case, the eclipse image might look more like #4. For those who do want to take off on a rocket ship, there is a critical and hard change to make. You the owner needs to begin to remove yourself and entrust high caliber functional managers with specific expertise (e.g. operations, marketing, finance). Your job is not to be involved in or the expert of every function anymore—your job is to now allow your experts to lead their functions.
You cannot take off on a rocket ship unless you get out of the way. In order to really take-off, you (the founder/owner) need to focus on two key areas: delegation and cash. You must delegate responsibility to your team so they can increase the effectiveness of your business which will be resource drained as you take-off. Remember, delegation is a vulnerable trust in your team. Do not fall into the trap of not continuing to build that trust further enabling your team to operate and achieve your vision. This stage of growth is going to challenge the business resources. Your awareness and tolerance for changing cash flow and debt-equity ratios is paramount.
You've arrived! Your team is large and incredibly talented, you've got great operating leverage ... but, your work is not done (or, is it)! What are your goals? Are you going to retire? Have you been approached about an acquisition or merger? If your goal and hope is to continue your work, you'll want to focus on two well-developed strengths you have by this point: 1) entrepreneurial companies thrive because they're innovative and your job is to now foster that entrepreneurial culture and continue innovating, and 2) your strategic abilities by this point are at their best and as you look beyond the present you will line up strengths and weaknesses with your goals.
Prepared For Growth
Pathway wants to help educate you and your business about—and provide you with the right—capital to help you through your specific stage of growth. From cash flow to investors to loan programs, there are a lot of capital solutions to help you grow. Term loans, equipment loans, and commercial real estate loans are a few growth capital lending solutions we see across the growth stages. Think one of these lending solutions might be right for you?
Loan Readiness QuizFind out if you're ready to apply.
Term LoansNeed to bolster your cash on-hand ahead of planned growth? Projected cash needs impacted by sudden growth stage transition?
Equipment LoansNeed to upgrade your equipment to keep up with the demands of growth? Adding equipment to fuel growth?
Commercial Real Estate LoansReady to invest in your own building? Want to refinance and take some equity out as cash?
Share your growth strategy with a Pathway coach!
Pathway coaches are experts in their field—former executives, CPA's, and more with expertise ranging from accounting to sales & marketing. We're ready to help you and your business start and grow!
Meet All the Pathway Coaches!Browse profiles and expertise