The Search for Business Growth Continues

In a previous post, So You Want to Grow Your Business?, I shared some of my general findings in recent research I have conducted in small business growth models.  While many of the models and writings came in many different shapes and sizes, they all had certain very similar characteristics.  This is very good, as I do not need to spend a lot of time defending any specific point of view. I can get down to the business at hand – helping simplify your small business growth!

After reviewing dozens of websites I settled on 5 or 6 sites that present some well thought out approaches to your small business growth.  I compiled all these models and approaches into a single comparative table to begin my analysis.  See the results of this comparison table by downloading our Small Business Growth Matrix on the DE, Inc. website.

As I stated in my previous post, I found models with 3, 5, and 7 stages.  What was the right number of stages for small businesses growth?  Reading the characteristics of each stage I found they all sort of hit the same points, it’s just one author decided to draw their line in one place while another decided to draw their line somewhere else.

To me, the most significant approach is from a Harvard Business Review whitepaper entitled The Five Stages of Business Growth by Neil C. Churchill and Virginia L. Lewis.  My rationale is that this approach is based on statistical research and has already been accepted by one of the premier business schools in the world.  Taking this as a basis for my writing provides the credibility readers want to feel confident that following this formula will provide results.  Based on the Churchill & Lewis model I settled on the following 5 stages:

    1. Existence
    2. Survival
    3. Success
    4. Rapid Growth
    5. Maturity

The only change I made to the Churchill & Lewis stages was renaming stage 4 to Rapid Growth.  I believe this title better personifies what is really happening within this stage than the “Take-off” title given by Churchill & Lewis’  In my a future post I will provide general descriptions for each of the stages.

Because each model had its strengths and weaknesses, I next distilled all the models down into a set of specific characteristics I believe provide a more simplified way to read, understand, and begin to classify your small business growth.  Here are the characteristics within each stage I will present in future posts:

  • Description
  • Stage Goal
  • Stage Objectives
  • Stage Challenges/Risks

Owner Growth Factors:

  • Owner Goals
  • Operational Abilities
  • Managerial Abilities
  • Strategic Abilities

Company Growth Factors:

  • Financial Resources
  • Personnel Resources
  • System Resources
  • Business Resources

My most significant finding came from the Churchill & Lewis paper where they present the fact that both owner and company factors are critical to a business’ growth.  This wasn’t a new revelation, but instead a validation of something we have always promoted at DE, Inc., that ownership must make changes in themselves in order for their business to grow (see the posts Are You Holding Back Your Business? and The Barrier to Achieving Success).  This is why our tagline is “Personal Growth, Business Leadership, Life Success.”  By committing to focus on your small business growth, you must first commit to growth within yourself both personally and professional.  Then and only then are your ability to grow your business not just left to chance.

Here is a great opportunity for those that have moved through the early stages of business growth can help those that are currently searching for the answer.  The “magic bullet” is personal growth.  What happened to provide you with your “ah ha moment” that allowed you to push past the status quo and create the changes in you personally so you were able to grow your small business?

About Dino Eliadis

Dino Eliadis has over 25 years experience in creating and leading high performance teams and organizations. His talents spans many different industries where he focuses on assisting small business owners to make measurable improvements in overall business performance thus increasing their “book value” by Tuning the Revenue Engine. The result: increased productivity and improved revenue growth, leading to maximized profits.


  1. Walking in the psreecne of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

  2. It’s much easier to udenrtsnad when you put it that way!


  1. [...] introduced in my previous posting, The Search for Growth Continues, I concluded that a 5 stage model for your small business growth, much like the one described by [...]

  2. [...] Even more important is understanding how focusing on these objectives will move your company to the next stage of small business growth. [...]

  3. [...] I described in an earlier post The Search for Growth Continues, there are two sets of key factors that contribute to your small business growth – owner and [...]

  4. [...] a previous post title, The Search for Growth Continues I introduced the 5 stages of small business growth from Churchill and Lewis’s research.  [...]

  5. [...] you have read my post The Search for Growth Continues you know that finance is a major factor in the growth model.  Often entrepreneurs are focused on [...]

  6. Cool sites…

    [...]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[...]……

  7. [...] I previously share in my post The Search for Business Growth Continues, 2 set of factors impact business growth – company factors and owner factors.  The owner factors [...]

Speak Your Mind