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The Small Business Life Cycle by Charlie Gilkey

The full title of this book by Charlie Gilkey is

The Small Business Life Cycle: The No-Fluff Guide to Navigating the Five Stages of Small Business Growth

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Three Stars. This means Worthwhile.

The business life cycle from the entrepreneurial idea through to mature businesses is taught in theoretical studies of entrepreneurship and business. It also has real world implications because the challenges facing the entrepreneur change as the business grows and becomes more established.

This short book gives an overview of the stages which is useful for aspiring entrepreneurs. The challenging work is only starting when the business is formed and there will continue to be plenty to do. In fact, there is always more than could be done.

I think it’s less useful for business owners with businesses. They have problems that need to be solved and real life doesn’t fit neatly into a theoretical model. As the owner tends to work with a short term detailed focus, wherever the business is currently, the book doesn’t have much to say that’s relevant. This is inevitably the weakness of a book that looks along the life cycle and the shorter the book is, the less it can say that’s helpful to navigate away from any one stage.

I much prefer a book like The E-Myth Revisited which is packed with light bulb moments. Owners can relate to the frustrations, recognise themselves in why they started and then accept they need to change.

Perhaps it’s caught me on a bad day but I thought the book was quite dull and uninspiring.

Recognising that businesses differ with age and maturity is important to understand. There is an adrenalin rush at the start and then a series of frustrating problems. Some businesses stay very small and don’t experience many of the growing pains. In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on “scaling up” which can be thought of as an optional stage or perhaps a series of optional stages. There are a huge number of books telling you about the startup phase and an increasing number of books that look at the issues around scaling up.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).

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