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Are you a Small Business Owner without a strong business foundation?
Don't worry. Any size business, big or small, is constantly encountering "unforeseen" business challenges. But, here's a secret: these challenges don't have to be unforeseen.

Big corporations bring on high-priced management consultants to help them solve business problems. In fact, in 2014, companies spent in excess of $400B on these consultants. For most small business owners, hiring a top consulting firm like McKinsey is out of the question. It's just too expensive.

The value of these consulting firms is that they bring you time-tested, established "frameworks" for solving business problems. As the name suggests, a "framework" provides a structured approach to analyzing and solving a specific business problem. It allows you to address the business issue in an organized, thorough, and efficient manner.

As businesses grow from small to mid-size and eventually to enterprise, they progress through common stages of growth. Each stage is uniquely identified by common characteristics and trends. Below, we have 2 such frameworks that will help you, as a Small Business Owner, anticipate, understand, and overcome your growth and operational challenges.

The 5 Stages of Business Growth


What Is It?

All businesses experience common problems that arise at similar stages in their development. Each stage of growth is characterized by a different impetus to growth and threatened by a different crisis.

Why Is It Helpful to a Small Business Owner?

By familiarizing yourself with this framework, you will know what to focus on right now. Each stage requires a different management style, a different strategic focus, and has a different state of systems and processes.

At the earliest stage of a business, the business owner wears all the hats and directly supervises subordinates. The key focus now is to get customers and deliver our market offerings. The reason a business fails in this stage is because it cannot gain sufficient customer acceptance or product capability to become viable. As your business grows, the aforementioned characteristics will change. The focus shifts to "survival mode," where cash flow is the main concern. Some businesses can get stuck in this stage. Eventually, they go out of business when the owner gives up, or retires, or sells it (usually at a slight loss). How do you avoid getting stuck?

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Consolidation-Endgame Curve


What Is It?

The global consulting firm A.T. Kearney conducted a study of 25,000 firms globally, representing 98% of the global market cap. Through this rigorous study, they came to the realization that ALL industries eventually consolidate, as they traverse through 4 stages of progression.

Why Is It Helpful to a Small Business Owner?

As a business owner, it's very important to understand your industry and market, since this has profound implications on your company and all of your competitors. Is your industry a new one? Or is it mature? Are there any dominant competitors? Or is it made up of a lot of small companies?

Familiarizing yourself with this framework will allow you to know what are the most optimal strategic and operational decisions you should be making. It will also help you determine what your niche strategy should be. Every major decision you make should be evaluated with regard to your industry's stage in the Consolidation Curve.

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By learning and truly understanding the The 5 Stages of Business Growth and Consolidation-Endgame Curve, you will develop a stronger business foundation than most graduates of top 10 MBA programs. You will be prepared for the challenges to come, know when to expect these challenges, and know how best to overcome them.

“To rely on rustics and not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.”
– Sun Tzu, Art of War

Other Core Business Topics for Small Business Owners

Flevy has thousands of business documents that cover a variety of management topics. We have synthesized our library of documents into 500+ business toolkits. Each toolkit centers around a common management topic. Based on discussions with Small Business Consultants, we have picked several business toolkits that are most prevalent to the small business owners.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing is both an art and a science. Getting it right is critical to your company's success. What are the long-term implications of pricing? What is the impact of your product's maturity on pricing? Are your customers "price sensitive?" These are all important questions to fully understand when determining your product's pricing strategy.

View Toolkit


Business Plan Development

How robust is your business plan? A business plan forces you to think through your business, such as your plan for growth, anticipated changes, and important trade-offs. It is also a vehicle for communication. In fact, to raise any financing for your business, you are required to have a business plan. See examples of business plans here.

View Toolkit


Product Launch Strategy

Remember, you only launch once! So, it's important to get it right. Make sure you've thought through all the important considerations and be confident in your decisions. This toolkit covers a variety of topics, from Consumer Psychology to Product Adoption. Also, take a look at this article on our business blog: The Complete Guide to Product Adoption.

View Toolkit

Marketing Plan Development

You may have a great offering, but that won't lead to any sales unless people are aware your company even exists. This is where corporate marketing comes in. Marketing builds awareness and demand for your product. Your Marketing Plan should be the result of Market Segmentation, Competitive Analysis, Competitive Positioning, and other analyses.

View Toolkit


Customer Service

A satisfied customer can be a source of continued revenue, word-of-mouth marketing, and customer referrals. Due to rising customer expectations, delivering excellent service is no longer a choice but a necessity. But how do you deliver great customer service? It turns out there's a systematic approach to achieve customer satisfaction.

View Toolkit


Social Media Marketing

Social Media is an extremely cost effective method of marketing. Social media marketing gives your business global reach and allows you to target your customers in incredible granularity--e.g. location, job function, gender, age, interest, and so forth. For many small businesses, Flevy included, social media is the primary form of marketing utilized.

View Toolkit


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    – Omar Hernán Montes Parra, CEO at Quantum SFE
    "The wide selection of frameworks is very useful to me as an independent consultant. In fact, it rivals what I had at my disposal at Big 4 Consulting firms in terms of efficacy and organization."

    – Julia T., Consulting Firm Owner (Former Manager at Deloitte and Capgemini)
    "As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value."

    – David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting
    "[Flevy] produces some great work that has been/continues to be of immense help not only to myself, but as I seek to provide professional services to my clients, it give me a large "tool box" of resources that are critical to provide them with the quality of service and outcomes they are expecting."

    – Royston Knowles, Executive with 50+ Years of Board Level Experience
    "I have used Flevy services for a number of years and have never, ever been disappointed. As a matter of fact, David and his team continue, time after time, to impress me with their willingness to assist and in the real sense of the word. I have concluded in fact that it is not at all just a repository of documents/resources but, in the way that David and his team manage the firm, it is like dealing with consultants always ready to assist, advise and direct you to what you really need, and they always get it right.

    I am an international hospitality accomplished senior executive who has worked and lived during the past 35 years in 23 countries in 5 continents and I can humbly say that I know what customer service is, trust me.

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    Well done Flevy, keep up the great work and I look forward to continue working with you in the future and to recommend you to a variety of colleagues around the world."

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    The variety and quality of material available through Flevy offers a very useful and commanding source for information. Using Flevy saves me time, enhances my expertise and ends up being a good decision."

    – Dennis Gershowitz, Principal at DG Associates
    "FlevyPro provides business frameworks from many of the global giants in management consulting that allow you to provide best in class solutions for your clients."

    – David Harris, Managing Director at Futures Strategy
    "As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant's toolbox."

    – Michael Duff, Managing Director at Change Strategy (UK)
    "As an Independent Management Consultant, I find Flevy to add great value as a source of best practices, templates and information on new trends. Flevy has matured and the quality and quantity of the library is excellent. Lastly the price charged is reasonable, creating a win-win value for the customer, Flevy and the various authors. This is truly a service that benefits the consulting industry and associated clients. Thanks for providing this service. "

    – Jim Schoen, Principal at FRC Group
    "As a young consulting firm, requests for input from clients vary and it's sometimes impossible to provide expert solutions across a broad spectrum of requirements. That was before I discovered Flevy.com.

    Through subscription to this invaluable site of a plethora of topics that are key and crucial to consulting, I have been able to exceed expectations and deliver quality advice and solutions to my clients. The quality and expertise of the authors are exemplary and gives me great confidence to use as part of my service offerings.

    I highly recommend this company for any consultant wanting to apply international best practice standards in their service offerings. "

    – Nishi Singh, Strategist and MD at NSP Consultants


Since 2012, we have provided best practices to over 5,000 businesses and organizations of all sizes across the world—in over 130 countries. Below is just a very small sample of our customer base.

Did you know?
The average daily rate of a McKinsey consultant is $6,625 (not including expenses). The average price of a Flevy document is $65.

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