Business Lifecycle: Navigating the Journey to Success
From development to growth, maturity and succession, a business lifecycle represents the key stages of your business evolution. It’s
important to identify each phase of your business lifecycle and implement the appropriate strategies to minimize risk and personal
liability. With strategic planning for each phase, you can ensure the growth and viability of your business while still being able to pursue
and create new opportunities.
The development phase is the initial inception of your business. This is probably the most exciting component of the cycle where your ideas
are transitioning into a viable business model by conducting prototyping or beta testing. A business at this stage is typically a
small operation that may still be trading as an individual or sole trader with little to no revenue visibility, a limited number of
employees - if any, and a narrow focus on a product or service.
The biggest challenge in the development phase is identifying and obtaining funding, such as loans, grants or investors, that will assist
in getting the business off the ground. Developing a business strategy that outlines the goals, objectives, and milestones to bring the
business to fruition can help attract investment such as crowd-sourced funding or secured lending.
Your investment should be backed by strong market analysis to understand the viability of your product or services into the market.
Establishing a clear value proposition and marketing strategy will help to reach your target audience and attract customers. It is also
important to determine where your business might be conducted and whether to lease or buy any property or assets that may be required to
operate your business.
Building a strong team to support the business can shape a business model right from the get go, attracting the appropriate staff with the
right skills and expertise or bringing on advisors or mentors who can provide guidance and support will ensure a solid foundation in any
When your business enters the growth phase, it typically experiences an increase in revenue and a positive generation of cashflow. The core
focus here is to manage the growth sustainably. If managed effectively, the growth phase can lead to sustained profits and long-term success
for your business. It can be challenging as the business may need to invest in additional resources or infrastructure to support its growth
as well as adapt to new regulations and compliance requirements.
Your business starts to generate a profit once it surpasses the break-even point, however at this stage, it’s important to identify if the
profit is still lagging behind the sales. It might be time to review your pricing and costs to optimise your profit margins and support the
ongoing operational costs of your business.
Investing in a scalable accounting software can ensure accurate analysis of your financial data so that you maintain a clear understanding
of your business growth. This can also help you classify any available tax deductions. Consulting with a tax professional or business
can help you maintain compliance with the relevant tax laws and regulations as well as identify additional tax-saving opportunities.
Developing a budget and financial forecast can help you plan for the future and make informed decisions about spending, expansion and
investment. Engaging annual tax planning can help you gain oversight on your tax obligations and ensure your business is taking advantage of
the tax concessions available, such as those for equipment
business mileage, employee benefits and research and development. Developing a good relationship with an experienced accountant who can
provide comprehensive accounting services and help you navigate different financial, accounting and tax issues will ensure the financial
stability and continuity of the business.
Having the right business structure in place can also help to effectively manage your tax position by minimising tax liabilities,
maximising cash flow, and most importantly, it can provide a safeguard for your personal assets.
“Operating a business as a sole trader or as an individual trustee can expose your personal assets including your family home to
unnecessary risk” says managing director, Darryl Dyson.
If your business has undergone significant growth or you’re anticipating that it will, it may be time to consider shifting from a sole
trader operation to a trust, company or
partnership, however, it’s important to understand the cost and legal requirements involved to decide which structure best suits your
business needs. Consult with an experienced business adviser to help
you consider your options.
As your business continues to grow, it will eventually reach its maturity. During this phase, your business typically has a steady cash
flow, established customer base and predictable revenue streams. The main challenge is to maintain the business's competitive advantage and
continue to generate revenue to extend the life of your business. The focus should be managing cost control, efficiency, maximising profits,
minimizing risk, and retaining and expanding your customer base and product offerings.
Continuously reviewing and adjusting your business strategy by evaluating market trends and looking for new opportunities or technologies
can help the business grow and maintain its competitive edge. Implementing new strategies to retain customers, such as loyalty programs or
offering new pricing or packaging, can increase loyalty from your existing customer base in addition to attracting in new customers.
It’s also important to know what incentives are available to you, such as the Research
and Development Tax Incentive.
This incentive is tax concession designed to encourage innovation by refunding a percentage of costs incurred by your business that relate
to the undertaking of research and development of new products (costs must meet eligibility criteria). Investing in research and
development can help your business stay ahead of competitors and offer customers new and innovative products or services.
During the renewal or decline phase, your business may have experienced a period of decline or stagnation and has begun to recover and grow
again. Businesses in this phase may be facing challenges such as increased competition, changes in the market and may need to pivot their
operations to try to maintain stability.
To confront these challenges, you may need to re-evaluate your pricing strategy, invest in growth opportunities, or review financing options
to support the recovery of your business. If your business has braved the decline and is still profitable with predictable subsequent
growth, transition of ownership may be something to consider.
To successfully navigate this phase, your will need to optimize cashflow by executing measures such as extending payment terms with
suppliers or collecting outstanding accounts receivable. Selling off assets that are no longer essential to the business's operations can
assist in generating additional revenue and free up resources for other purposes.
During this phase, businesses may often revisit the strategies they implemented throughout the development stage. You may want
to consider re-investing in new products or services, look at acquiring another business or expand to a second premises. If there is no
funding available, you may need to review financing options such as loans, lines of
credit or equity investments to support growth.
For business owners that are planning for their eventual retirement, there are a few key things to consider like developing a
succession plan that outlines how ownership of the company will be transferred to employees, family members, or outside investors. A sale
to an external party could also be a good option and depending on the structure of your business, there could be tax-efficient
ways to execute the sale.
By implementing these strategies, businesses can better optimise their financial performance and ensure a smooth transition of ownership, if
that is the plan. It's important to note that the optimal strategy will depend on the specific circumstances of the business and the
business owners, and the tax and legal implications should be considered with the help of a professional. It's always wise to consult with a
tax adviser, an attorney, or financial adviser to get a clear understanding of all the potential tax implications and benefits of the chosen
In summary, it’s worth pointing out that the various phases of a business lifecycle don’t necessarily occur in predictable
sequence. Some businesses can promptly move from development, straight to decline if the business doesn’t find a market for their product.
Others might avoid expansion and remain in the maturity stage, such as family-owned and operated businesses.
It’s vital for business owners to understand the challenges and opportunities encountered in each stage of the cycle in order to plan for
the future and maximize the chances of success. By understanding the business life cycle, business owners can make informed decisions about
the growth and sustainability of their business to obtain a healthy return on their investment.
With the rise of the Content Creator era, platforms such as TikTok, YouTube & OnlyFans have offered an opportunity for creators to profit from the audience they generate, but the tax office has put the booming industry on notice. Our latest article outlines the ATO's expectations on how the income should be treated.
If your business isn’t registered for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT), it is important that you determine whether it needs to be. In this article
we discuss what the ATO deems a Fringe Benefit and what benefits are exempt.
Do you feel overwhelmed by your tax obligations? Are you unsure you’re getting the most out of the available tax concessions? If so, tax
planning could be the key to taking back control of your finances. In this article, we'll explore what tax planning is, who can benefit from it, and why it's a valuable financial management tool.