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Once your business moves past the “dream” stage, it becomes an actual, functioning entity.  It has been born!  This is the second stage in the business life cycle:  actual work.

At this stage, you have products or services and you’re delivering them to customers (you have customers!).  You’ve figured out who you are, who your customers are, etc.  More importantly, you’ve hopefully figured out who you are not.  Why is this so important?  Because this stage is where cash can become a problem. 

Many people who start businesses (especially if they’ve never done it before) underestimate the amount of money they’ll need at the beginning.  Think of a new business as being a spaceship and cash as fuel.  When that spaceship first takes off, it burns through an awful lot of fuel to get through the atmosphere.  Once it’s there, in orbit, it can use a little less fuel and rely a little more on momentum.

So it is with a business.  When you first start up, you’re starting everything from scratch, and you don’t have any customers to fund it.  Once you have some success, your paying customers will begin funding you, but until then, guard your cash carefully and focus on what you are, not on what you are not.

Another challenge is marketing.  You may have a great product, but that doesn’t matter if your potential clients don’t know about it, or worse, don’t need it.  Just because you think it’s great doesn’t mean people will beat down your door to buy it.  You have to find your prospects and show them the benefits of your product (not just the cool features you designed).

If your business is currently in this stage what is the most significant challenge you are facing?  If your business has passed through this stage already, what other challenges did you deal with?  What did you learn?

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