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 business.

Growth/ Expansion

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 adviser 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 purchases, 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.

Renewal/ Decline

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 strategy.

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.

Share This:

Other Recent Posts

The 2024/25 Federal Budget: Relief Measures, Economic Outlook & Key Initiatives

Directors on Notice: WA directors convicted & fined for failing director ID requirements.

A Comprehensive Guide for QBCC Annual Financial Reporting

Like to receive accounting and finance updates that
will help you grow your business?